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English definition of “explain”

explain

verb [I or T] uk   /ɪkˈspleɪn/ us  
A2 to make something clear or easy to understand by describing or giving information about it: If there's anything you don't understand, I'll be happy to explain. The teacher explained the rules to the children. [+ question word] Our guide explained where the cathedral was. He explained how the machine worked. Please could you explain why you're so late. [+ that] She explained that she was going to stay with her sister. [+ speech] "Someone must have hit the wrong button," an official explained. Molly asked the teacher if she could explain herself a bit more clearly (= say more clearly what she meant). No one has been able to explain (= give the reason for) the accident. explain yourself to give reasons for your behaviour: He hadn't been home for three days so I asked him to explain himself.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of explain from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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