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  1. ex·plain
    IPA[ikˈsplān]
  2. verb

    • 1. make (an idea, situation, or problem) clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant facts or ideas:

      they explained that their lives centered on the religious rituals he explained the situation “my daddy has spells,” Ben explained
      Synonym : describe, give an explanation of, make clear/plain/intelligible, spell out, put into words, express in words, elucidate, expound, explicate, delineate, clarify, unfold, throw light on, clear up, simplify, gloss, interpret, decipher, decode, translate, demonstrate, show, teach, illustrate, unravel, untangle, resolve, solve, get across, get over
    • 2. account for (an action or event) by giving a reason as excuse or justification:

      Callie found it necessary to explain her blackened eye he makes athletes explain why they made a mistake she had tried to explain about Adam, hadn't she?
      Synonym : account for, give an explanation for, give a reason for, justify, give a justification for, give an excuse/alibi/apologia for, make excuses for, explain away, rationalize, give a rationale for, defend, vindicate, legitimize, mitigate, extenuate
    • 3. be the cause of or motivating factor for:

      her father's violence explains her pacificism this would explain why so many adult children still live with their parents
    • 4. minimize the significance of an embarrassing fact or action by giving an excuse or justification:

      they know stories about me that I can't explain away
  3. Variation

    • v.: verb: explain, 3rd person present: explains, gerund or present participle: explaining, past tense: explained, past participle: explained

    • verb

      make (an idea or situation) clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant facts:

      give a reason so as to justify or excuse (an action or event):

    • expand on what one has said in order to make one's meaning clear
    • expand on what one has said in order to make oneself clear
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