verb (used with object)
to make plain or clear; render understandable or intelligible:
to explain an obscure point.
to make known in detail:
to explain how to do something.
to assign a meaning to; interpret:
How can you explain such a silly remark?
to make clear the cause or reason of; account for:
I cannot explain his strange behavior.
verb (used without object)
to give an .
(when transitive, may take a clause as object) to make (something) comprehensible, esp by giving a clear and detailed account of the relevant structure, operation, surrounding circumstances, etc
(transitive) to justify or attempt to justify (oneself) by giving reasons for one’s actions or words
early 15c., from Latin explanare “to make level, smooth out;” also “to explain, make clear” (see explanation).
Originally explane, spelling altered by influence of plain. Also see plane (v.2). In 17c., occasionally used more literally, of the unfolding of material things: Evelyn has buds that “explain into leaves” [“Sylva, or, A discourse of forest-trees, and the propagation of timber in His Majesties dominions,” 1664]. Related: Explained; explaining; explains.
- Explain oneself
1. Clarify what one has said or done, as in If you have a few minutes, I’ll try to explain myself. [ First half of 1600s ] 2. Demand or give an explanation or excuse for something wrong one has done. For example, You’re three hours late—can you explain yourself?
[eks-pluh-neyt, eks-pley-neyt] /ˈɛks pləˌneɪt, ɛksˈpleɪ neɪt/ adjective, Botany, Zoology. 1. flattened; spread out.
[ek-spluh-ney-shuh n] /ˌɛk spləˈneɪ ʃən/ noun 1. the act or process of . 2. something that ; a statement made to clarify something and make it understandable; exposition: an explanation of a poem. 3. a meaning or interpretation: to find an explanation for a mystery. 4. a mutual declaration of the meaning of words spoken, […]
[ik-splan-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪkˈsplæn əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ adjective 1. serving to : an explanatory footnote. /ɪkˈsplænətərɪ; -trɪ/ adjective 1. serving or intended to serve as an explanation adj. 1610s, from or modeled on Late Latin explanatorius “having to do with an explanation,” from Latin explanat-, past participle stem of explanare (see explanation).