verb ex·plain \ik-ˈsplān\

: to make (something) clear or easy to understand

: to tell, show, or be the reason for or cause of something

Full Definition of EXPLAIN

transitive verb
a :  to make known <explain the secret of your success>
b :  to make plain or understandable <footnotes that explain the terms>
:  to give the reason for or cause of <unable to explain his strange conduct>
:  to show the logical development or relationships of <explained the new theory>
intransitive verb
:  to make something plain or understandable <a report that suggests rather than explains>
ex·plain·able \-ˈsplā-nə-bəl\ adjective
ex·plain·er noun
explain oneself
:  to clarify one's statements or the reasons for one's conduct

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

explain, expound, explicate, elucidate, interpret 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>. expound implies a careful often elaborate explanation <expounding a scientific theory>. explicate adds the idea of a developed or detailed analysis <explicate a poem>. elucidate stresses the throwing of light upon as by offering details or motives previously unclear or only implicit <elucidate an obscure passage>. interpret adds to explain the need for imagination or sympathy or special knowledge in dealing with something <interpreting a work of art>.
EXPLAIN Defined for Kids


verb ex·plain \ik-ˈsplān\

Definition of EXPLAIN for Kids

:  to make clear :  clarify <Let me explain how it works.>
:  to give the reasons for or cause of <Please explain why you're late.>


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