Word family noun explaining explanation adjective unexplained explanatory explicableinexplicable verb explain adverb inexplicably
From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishexplainex‧plain /ɪkˈspleɪn/ ●●● S1 W1 verb [intransitive, transitive] 1 EXPLAINto tell someone about something in a way that is clear or easy to understand He carefully explained the procedure.explain (to somebody) why/how/what etc The librarian will explain how to use the catalogue system. Let me explain what I mean.explain that He explained that it had been a difficult film to make.explain something to somebody I explained the situation to my bank manager.2 REASONto give a reason for something or to be a reason for something Wait! I can explain everything. How can you explain that sort of behaviour?explain that She explained that she had been ill.explain why/how/what etc I’ll explain why I don’t believe your story. That still doesn’t explain how he was able to hide the body.3 explain yourself explain something ↔ awayGrammarYou explain something to someone: Alan explained the system to me. Don’t say: Alan explained me the system. | Alan explained to me the system.THESAURUSexplain to give someone the information they need to understand somethingShe explained how to use the software.Doctors usually explain the risks of the treatment to patients.tell to explain something. People often use tell instead of explain in everyday conversationHe told me how to get to his house. The book tells you how to improve your health through diet. show to explain to someone how to do something by doing it while they watch youEllen showed me how to work the coffee maker.demonstrate /ˈdemənstreɪt/ to explain to someone how to do something by doing it while they watch you, especially when it is part of your jobThe cabin crew demonstrated the safety procedures to the passengers.A qualified instructor will demonstrate how to use the equipment properly.go through something to explain something carefully, especially one step at a timeMrs. Riddell went through the homework assignment.set out something to explain a series of ideas, reasons or opinions in an organized way in writing or in a speechIn his speech, he intended to set out the party’s policies on education. → See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
explainBut the dynamics of his thinking have never been easy to explain.It's not so complicated - let me explain.Let me show you - it's too difficult to explain.She just doesn't like me. How else can you explain her behaviour?I had nothing in my vocabulary of human behavior to explain him.We were all puzzled: what could explain his sudden change of mind?The doctor explained how the clinic operates.The reason this requires explaining is that young women are different from other human beings in this respect.If you don't get the joke, I'll explain it to you later.I don't have time to explain now - just come with me quickly!Sarah explained that she hadn't been feeling well recently.We listened carefully while Pam explained the process.Could you explain the rules of the game to me, please?I would prefer the teacher to explain things rather than the computer.Shakespeare took the time to explain this; director Jocelyn Moorhouse does not.It was difficult explaining to the children why their father was leaving home.Can you explain what the poem means?The problem may explain why Brady has not made more of an impact since exploding on the scene three years ago.This may, inpart, explain why current approaches seem so distant from those applied to other periods of the past.She couldn't sleep last night, which explains why she was in such a bad mood this morning.Doctors are unable to explain why the disease spread so quickly.This explains why the extent of the use of crack is not necessarily indicated by the scale of seizures.explain (to somebody) why/how/what etcHe and Darcy have had a dispute, which he explains to Elizabeth.Oh, how could she explain?It is not necessary to explain to me why Anthony falls under the spell of a beautiful woman.As riders and trainers we must explain to the horse what is acceptable and what is not.Offer them coffee or a drink, explain exactly what is included in the sale, and sell your home.Can you explain simply what one purpose or one redeeming quality that movie embraced?Most class analysts do not explain in detail how policy decisions are actually made.explain thatBut Giap spurned the advice, explaining that he could not desert his comrades.Then she explained that I was there, and that I was hoping to talk to students.Jack explained that it had been his father driving the car.Eisenhower was asked about the case and explained that it was a matter of state concern.Nonplussed, Loretta explained that she had driven right through the village without finding it.Quinn explains that spending on roads and other infrastructure accounts for most of the deficit.Jesse Young explains that... there was a good deal of a panic at the beginning of the battle.
Origin explain (1500-1600) Latin explanare to make level, unfold, from planus level, flat