explain
verb Etymology: Middle English explanen, from Latin explanare, literally, to make level, from ex- + planus level, flat — more at floor Date: 15th century transitive verb 1. a. to make known <
explain the secret of your success
>
b. to make plain or understandable <
footnotes that explain the terms
>
2. to give the reason for or cause of <
unable to explain his strange conduct
>
3. to show the logical development or relationships of <
explained the new theory
>
intransitive verb to make something plain or understandable <
a report that suggests rather than explains
>
explainable adjectiveexplainer noun Synonyms: explain, expound, explicate, elucidate, interpret mean to make something clear or understandable. explain implies a making plain or intelligible what is not immediately obvious or entirely known <
explain the rules
>
. expound implies a careful often elaborate explanation <
expounding a scientific theory
>
. explicate adds the idea of a developed or detailed analysis <
explicate a poem
>
. elucidate stresses the throwing of light upon as by offering details or motives previously unclear or only implicit <
elucidate an obscure passage
>
. interpret adds to explain the need for imagination or sympathy or special knowledge in dealing with something <
interpreting a work of art
>
.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • explain — 1 Explain, expound, explicate, elucidate, interpret, construe are comparable when they mean to make oneself or another understand the meaning of something. Explain, the most general term, implies a making of something plain or intelligible to… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Explain — Ex*plain ([e^]ks*pl[=a]n ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Explained}([e^]ks*pl[=a]nd ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Explaining}.] [L. explandare to flatten, spread out, explain; ex out + plandare to make level or plain, planus plain: cf. OF. esplaner, explaner. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • explain — [ek splān′, iksplān′] vt. [ME explanen < L explanare, to flatten < ex , out + planare, to make level < planus, level (see PLANE2): sp. infl. by PLAIN1] 1. to make clear, plain, or understandable 2. to give the meaning or interpretation… …   English World dictionary

  • explain — (v.) early 15c., from L. explanare to make level, smooth out; also to explain, make clear (see EXPLANATION (Cf. explanation)). Originally explane, spelling altered by influence of plain. In 17c., occasionally used more literally, of the unfolding …   Etymology dictionary

  • explain — ► VERB 1) make clear by giving a detailed description. 2) give a reason or justification for. 3) (explain oneself) excuse or justify one s motives or conduct. 4) (explain away) minimize the significance of (something awkward) by giving an excuse… …   English terms dictionary

  • Explain — Ex*plain , v. i. To give an explanation. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • explain — I verb account for, annotate, assign a meaning to, cause to be understood, clarify, clear of obscurity, clear up, decipher, define, demonstrate, describe, disentangle, elucidate, enlighten, enucleate, exemplify, expedire, explanare, explicate,… …   Law dictionary

  • explain — [v] make clear; give a reason for account for, analyze, annotate, break down, bring out, clarify, clear up, construe, decipher, define, demonstrate, describe, diagram, disclose, elucidate, excuse, explicate, expound, get across*, go into detail,… …   New thesaurus

  • explain — ex|plain W1S1 [ıkˈspleın] v [I and T] [Date: 1500 1600; : Latin; Origin: explanare to make level, unfold , from planus level, flat ] 1.) to tell someone about something in a way that is clear or easy to understand ▪ Our lawyer carefully explained …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • explain — ex|plain [ ık spleın ] verb *** 1. ) transitive to tell someone something in a way that helps them understand it better: My full name is Juliet Avery, Juliet explained patiently. explain something to someone: The doctor explained the risks to me… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • explain */*/*/ — UK [ɪkˈspleɪn] / US verb Word forms explain : present tense I/you/we/they explain he/she/it explains present participle explaining past tense explained past participle explained 1) a) [transitive] to tell someone something in a way that helps… …   English dictionary

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