Synonyms & Antonyms of explain

1 to make plain or understandable
  • a pamphlet that explains the medical procedure in language that any layperson can understand

Synonyms for explain

Words Related to explain

Near Antonyms for explain

Antonyms for explain

2 to give the reason for or cause of
  • can you explain your very odd behavior at the wedding reception?

Synonyms for explain

Words Related to explain

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Frequently Asked Questions About explain

How does the verb explain contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of explain are elucidate, explicate, expound, and interpret. While all these words 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

In what contexts can elucidate take the place of explain?

While in some cases nearly identical to explain, elucidate stresses the throwing of light upon as by offering details or motives previously unclear or only implicit.

elucidate an obscure passage

When is it sensible to use explicate instead of explain?

The words explicate and explain can be used in similar contexts, but explicate adds the idea of a developed or detailed analysis.

explicate a poem

When is expound a more appropriate choice than explain?

Although the words expound and explain have much in common, expound implies a careful often elaborate explanation.

expounding a scientific theory

How are the words interpret and explain related?

Interpret adds to explain the need for imagination or sympathy or special knowledge in dealing with something.

interpreting a work of art

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Time Traveler for explain

Time Traveler

The first known use of explain was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Explain.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on explain

Dictionary: Definition of explain

Nglish: Translation of explain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of explain for Arabic Speakers

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