Simple Definition of explain
: to make (something) clear or easy to understand
: to tell, show, or be the reason for or cause of something
Full Definition of explain
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>
: to make something plain or understandable <a report that suggests rather than explains>
: to clarify one's statements or the reasons for one's conduct
Examples of explain
I need a lawyer to explain this contract to me.
The professor explained the poem to the class.
She explained how the machine worked.
I explained to them that I would be available by phone.
Scientists could not explain the strange lights in the sky.
I don't know how to explain the dog's strange behavior.
We asked him to explain his reasons to us.
Can you explain why no one was informed earlier?
That explains why we we're so far behind schedule.
Give me a chance to explain.
Origin of explain
Middle English explanen, from Latin explanare, literally, to make level, from ex- + planus level, flat — more at floor
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of explain
Seen and Heard
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