Definition of “explain” - English Dictionary

british dictionary

“explain” in British English

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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 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 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 your behaviour:

He hadn't been home for three days so I asked him to explain himself.

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Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “explain” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“explain” in American English

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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.

To explain is also to give a reason for doing something:

[ + question word ] He couldn’t explain why he did it.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “explain” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)