2. To define; expound: We explained our plan to the committee.
a. To offer reasons for or a cause of; justify: explain an error.
b. To offer reasons for the actions, beliefs, or remarks of (oneself).
To make something plain or comprehensible: Let me explain.
1. To dismiss or get rid of by or as if by explaining.
2. To minimize by explanation.
[Middle English explanen, from Latin explnre : ex-, intensive pref.; see ex- + plnus, clear; see pel-2 in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: explain, elucidate, expound, explicate, interpret, construe These verbs mean to make understandable the nature or meaning of something. Explain is the most widely applicable: The professor explained the obscure symbols. To elucidate is to throw light on something complex: Mans whole life and environment have been laid open and elucidated (Thomas Carlyle). Expound and explicate imply detailed and usually learned and lengthy exploration or analysis: We must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding (John Marshall). Ordinary language philosophers tried to explicate the standards of usage (Jerrold J. Katz). To interpret is to reveal the underlying meaning of something by the application of special knowledge or insight: If a poet interprets a poem of his own he limits its suggestibility (William Butler Yeats). Construe involves putting a particular construction or interpretation on something: I take the official oath today . . . with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules (Abraham Lincoln).
explain /ksplen/ v. [I;T] 1 to give information about, make clear, to explicate: The instructor explained the causes of the French Revolution.2 to give reasons for: He explained why he was late.
Thesaurus: explain 1 to describe in detail, make s.t. plain, spell s.t. out | expound upon s.t. frml.2 to account for s.t., justify. Ant. to gloss over s.t.