Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “explain”


verb [I/T]    /ɪkˈspleɪn/
to make something clear or easy to understand by describing or giving information about it: [I] If there’s anything you don’t understand, I’ll be happy to explain. [T] The teacher explained the procedure to the students. [+ question word] Bill explained how the program works. To explain is also to give a reason for doing something: [+ question word] He couldn’t explain why he did it.
(Definition of explain verb from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of explain

Definitions of “explain” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a person or group who receives money, advantages, etc. as a result of something else

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More