What does explain mean?

Definitions for explain

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word explain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. explain, explicate(verb)

    make plain and comprehensible

    "He explained the laws of physics to his students"

  2. explain(verb)


    "The committee explained their plan for fund-raising to the Dean"

  3. excuse, explain(verb)

    serve as a reason or cause or justification of

    "Your need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work"; "Her recent divorce may explain her reluctance to date again"


  1. explain(Verb)

    To give a sufficiently detailed report about (a) the reason for something, about why something happened, about a causal chain of events; about (b) how something works, about how elements in a system interact; about (c) how to do something, about the steps which need to be accomplished in order to accomplish a certain goal.

  2. explain(Verb)

    To give a valid excuse for some past behavior.

  3. explain(Verb)

    To make flat, smooth out.

  4. explain(Verb)

    To unfold or make visible.

  5. Origin: explanen, from explaner, from explanō, from ex- + planō, from planus; see plain and plane. Compare esplanade, splanade. Displaced native arecchen, irecchen (from areccan, gereccan).

Webster Dictionary

  1. Explain(adj)

    to flatten; to spread out; to unfold; to expand

  2. Explain(adj)

    to make plain, manifest, or intelligible; to clear of obscurity; to expound; to unfold and illustrate the meaning of; as, to explain a chapter of the Bible

  3. Explain(verb)

    to give an explanation

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Explain

    eks-plān′, v.t. to make plain or intelligible: to unfold and illustrate the meaning of: to expound: to account for.—adj. Explain′able, that may be explained or cleared up.—ns. Explain′er, one who explains; Explanā′tion, act of explaining or clearing from obscurity: that which explains or clears up: the meaning or sense given to anything: a mutual clearing up of matters.—adv. Explan′atorily.—adj. Explan′atory, serving to explain or clear up: containing explanations.—Explain away, to modify the force of by explanation, generally in a bad sense. [O. Fr. explaner—L. explanāreex, out, planāreplanus, plain.]

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'explain' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1356

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'explain' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1107

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'explain' in Verbs Frequency: #119


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of explain in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of explain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Katherine Hepburn:

    Never complain. Never explain.

  2. Safiullah Jabarkhail:

    I can't explain how happy I am.

  3. Benjamin Disraeli:

    Never complain and never explain.

  4. Lindsay Graham:

    I think he needs to explain himself.

  5. Bill Peterson:

    It's a very difficult game to explain.

Images & Illustrations of explain

  1. explainexplainexplain

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for explain

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"explain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 16 Oct. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/explain>.

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