explain

[ik-spleyn]
verb (used with object)
1.
to make plain or clear; render understandable or intelligible: to explain an obscure point. explicate. confuse.
2.
to make known in detail: to explain how to do something.
3.
to assign a meaning to; interpret: How can you explain such a silly remark?
4.
to make clear the cause or reason of; account for: I cannot explain his strange behavior. justify.
verb (used without object)
5.
to give an explanation.
Verb phrases
6.
explain away,
a.
to diminish or nullify the significance of by explanation: He couldn't explain away his absence from home at the time the robbery was committed.
b.
to dispel (doubts, difficulties, etc.) by explanation: She explained away the child's fears.

Origin:
1375–1425; late Middle English explanen < Latin explānāre to smooth out, make intelligible, spread out on flat surface. See ex-1, plane1

explainable, adjective
explainer, explanator [ek-spluh-ney-ter] , noun
misexplained, adjective
nonexplainable, adjective
overexplain, verb
preexplain, verb
reexplain, verb (used with object)
unexplainable, adjective
unexplainably, adverb
unexplained, adjective
unexplaining, adjective
well-explained, adjective


1. Explain, elucidate, expound, interpret imply making the meaning of something clear or understandable. To explain is to make plain, clear, or intelligible something that is not known or understood: to explain a theory or a problem. To elucidate is to throw light on what before was dark and obscure, usually by illustration and commentary and sometimes by elaborate explanation: They asked him to elucidate his statement. To expound is to give a methodical, detailed, scholarly explanation of something, usually Scriptures, doctrines, or philosophy: to expound the doctrine of free will. To interpret is to give the meaning of something by paraphrase, by translation, or by an explanation based on personal opinion: to interpret a poem or a symbol.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
explain (ɪkˈspleɪn)
 
vb
1.  (when tr, 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
2.  (tr) to justify or attempt to justify (oneself) by giving reasons for one's actions or words
 
[C15: from Latin explānāre to flatten, from plānus level]
 
ex'plainable
 
adj
 
ex'plainer
 
n

unexplained (ˌʌnɪkˈspleɪnd)
 
adj
not explained or understood: unexplained phenomena
 
unex'plainable
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

explain
1510s, from L. explanare "to make level, smooth out;" also "to explain, make clear" (see explanation). Originally explane, spelling altered by influence of plain. 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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
In an attempt to make sense out of the unexplainable, the idea that people died
  for something restored some sense.
There is only a desire to explain the unexplainable, which is a basic human
  psychological need.
Series dramatizing unexplainable incidents that involve the paranormal and/or
  normal events that take unexpected turns.
Incredibly, a camera was rolling the entire time, capturing unexplainable
  images that terrified all involved.
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