- 1Make (an idea or situation) clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant facts: [with clause]: they explained that their lives centred on the religious rituals [with direct speech]: ‘It’s a device of great age,’ the professor explained [with object]: he explained the situationMore example sentences
describe, give an explanation of, make clear/plain/intelligible, spell out, put into words, express in words; elucidate, expound, explicate, delineate; clarify, unfold, throw light on, clear up, simplify; gloss, interpret, decipher, decode, translate; demonstrate, show, teach, illustrate; unravel, untangle, resolve, solve• informal get across, get over
- Her mother has written to him explaining the situation but has not heard back.
- Call the company, explain the situation and give an estimate of the time you will arrive.
- My wife will then have to explain the situation to another helpful city employee.
- 1.1Give a reason so as to justify or excuse (an action or event): [with object]: Cassie found it necessary to explain her blackened eye [with clause]: he makes athletes explain why they made a mistake [no object]: I explained about Maureen calling roundMore example sentences
- So to explain these events it is necessary to examine the entire geological record.
- The bus was on time and its route correct, so how do we explain this unnecessary event?
- Here supporters of the Socialist Party have to be honest in explaining the recent defeat.
- 1.2 [with object] Be the cause of or motivating factor for: her father’s violence explains her pacifism [with clause]: this would explain why so many adult children still live with their parentsMore example sentences
- What explains this astonishing mobilisation of voter emotion, particularly in affluent white suburbs?
- His preoccupation with solitude also explains why Tsai's films are often very nearly free of dialogue.
- He had studied at Oxford and was a Rhodes Scholar, which explained why he spoke such beautiful English.
- 1.3 (explain something away) Minimize the significance of an embarrassing fact or action by giving an excuse or justification: they know stories about me that I can’t explain awayMore example sentences
- There is no way of explaining it away or justifying it.
- They should not minimize, rationalize, or explain the bullying away.
- The size of the demonstration could be explained away by the fact that most of the major political parties, from left to right, have come out in opposition to the war.
- Expand on what one has said in order to make oneself clear.More example sentences
- Many of them had a hard time developing clear arguments, explaining themselves fully, and understanding their own situation.
- It had no caption or explanation following it, yet the pictures were not clear enough to explain themselves.
- I have a lot more detailed information to this case but I would need to speak to someone person to person and have time to explain myself more clearly.
- Excuse or justify one’s motives or conduct: he was too panicked to stay and explain himself to the policemanMore example sentences
- My students feel they want to explain themselves and justify their ordinariness.
- Workers should be given an opportunity to explain themselves at a properly conducted meeting before decisions are made.
- If the Prime Minister refused to explain himself over the war, his conduct would be judged at the ballot box, he added.
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- The implication of this claim is that since the ‘golden rule’ is a universally held belief, it must be explainable by purely naturalistic processes.
- When I don't understand a magic trick I set out to reveal its explanation because it doesn't fit my theory of the universe as a logical and explainable place.
- For no explainable reason, a good deal of the original music has been either altered or removed altogether.
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- He was also one of the great explainers, and a startling number of his essays remain not just readable but compelling even across a divide of almost 80 years.
- It is very important that most of the staff do know how all the exhibits work as most of them will work as explainers at some point.
- The other explanations just strike me as extraordinarily far-fetched, to the point of casting doubt on the explainer's understanding of the phenomenon more generally.
late Middle English: from Latin explanare, based on planus 'plain'.