explain Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “explain” in the English Dictionary

"explain" in British English

See all translations

explainverb [I or T]

uk   /ɪkˈspleɪn/  us   /ɪkˈspleɪn/
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 ​machineworked. 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 ​wrongbutton," an ​official explained. Molly ​asked the ​teacher if she could explain herself a little 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 ​yourbehaviour: He hadn't been ​home for three ​days so I ​asked him to explain himself.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

Phrasal verbs
(Definition of explain from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"explain" in American English

See all translations

explainverb [I/T]

 us   /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 ​programworks.
To explain is also to give a ​reason for doing something: [+ question word] He couldn’t explain why he did it.
(Definition of explain from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Translations of “explain”
in Korean 설명하다…
in Arabic يُفَسِّر, يَشْرَح…
in Malaysian jelas, menjelaskan…
in French expliquer…
in Russian объяснять…
in Chinese (Traditional) 解釋, 說明, 闡明…
in Italian spiegare…
in Turkish izah etmek, açıklamak, anlatmak…
in Polish wyjaśniać, tłumaczyć…
in Spanish explicar…
in Vietnamese giải thích…
in Portuguese explicar…
in Thai อธิบาย, ชี้แจง…
in German erklären, erläutern…
in Catalan explicar…
in Japanese 説明する…
in Chinese (Simplified) 解释, 说明, 阐明…
in Indonesian menjelaskan…
What is the pronunciation of explain?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
by ,
April 27, 2016
by Liz Walter If you are a learner of English and you are confused about the words there, their and they’re, let me reassure you: many, many people with English as their first language share your problem! You only have to take a look at the ‘comments’ sections on the website of, for example, a popular

Read More 

Word of the Day

planet

an extremely large, round mass of rock and metal, such as Earth, or of gas, such as Jupiter, that moves in a circular path around the sun or another star

Word of the Day

trigger warning noun
trigger warning noun
May 02, 2016
a warning that a subject may trigger unpleasant emotions or memories This is not, I should stress, an argument that trigger warnings should become commonplace on campus.

Read More