explain away


explained away; explaining away; explains away

transitive verb

: to get rid of by or as if by explanation
: to minimize the significance of by or as if by explanation
explains his faults, but does not try to explain them awayM. K. Spears

Examples of explain away in a Sentence

after the surprise attack, military leaders struggled to explain away the nation's unpreparedness tried to explain away his adulterous affairs by saying that men are promiscuous by nature
Recent Examples on the Web This isn’t a trend that can be explained away by a difference in ambition. Liz Elting, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 The video also tried to explain away some of the obvious holes in the initial story, including why there was no evidence online of Alawi’s previous work. Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2024 In some ways, this seems like a departure from the series' previous seasons, in which supernatural undertones could largely be explained away by plot points that were grounded in reality. Megan McCluskey, TIME, 5 Feb. 2024 If anything, the ending of The Flash creates an ideal setup to explain away whatever comes next from DC. Christian Holub, EW.com, 17 June 2023 And, if properly handled, this revelation could have gone a long way toward explaining away some of those flaws in the writing. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024 But poor casting was only half of it — Charles Walters' 1955 adaptation unfortunately reimagines the heroine as an irascible antisocial brat with delusions of grandeur, all explained away by bizarre contemporary psychoanalysis provided in voice-over. EW.com, 4 Mar. 2024 Amy Goh, a contortionist and author of the Bendy Diaries blog, is eager to dispel the myth that her ability can be explained away as an inborn quality. Cody Cottier, Discover Magazine, 20 Feb. 2024 Viewers need to just accept or ignore that such an outrageously stupid procedural FUBAR like this could occur in real life — which is also never explained away in the script by Moller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen — to get on with taking the film seriously. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'explain away.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of explain away was in 1688

Dictionary Entries Near explain away

Cite this Entry

“Explain away.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explain%20away. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

explain away

: to cause to seem less important by explaining
explained away her mistake
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