AskDefine | Define explain

Dictionary Definition



1 make palin and comprehensible; "He explained the laws of physics to his students" [syn: explicate]
2 define; "The committe explained their plan for fund-raising to the Dean"
3 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 amy explain her reluctance to date again" [syn: excuse]

User Contributed Dictionary



From explanare, from ex- + planus.


  • /ɛkˈspleɪn/, /ɪkˈspleɪn/
  • Rhymes: -eɪn


  1. To make flat, smooth out.
  2. To unfold or make visible.
  3. 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.
  4. To give a valid excuse for some past behavior.



  • Czech: vysvětlit
  • Dutch: verklaren
  • Finnish: selittää
  • German: erklären
  • Korean: 변명하다 (byeonmyeonghada)

Extensive Definition

An explanation is a description which clarify causes, context, and consequences of a certain object, and a phenomenon such as a process, a state of affairs. This description may establish rules or laws, and may clarify the existing ones in relation to an object, and a phenomenon examined. The components of an explanation can be implicit, and be interwoven with one another.
An explanation is often underpinned by an understanding that is represented by different media such as music, text, and graphics. Thus, an explanation is subjected to interpretation, and discussion.
In scientific research, explanation is one of the purposes of research, e.g.,exploration and description. Explanation is a way to uncover new knowledge,and to report relationships among different aspects of studied phenomena.
Some types of explanations are:

External links

explain in Bulgarian: Обяснение
explain in German: Erklärung
explain in Spanish: Explicación
explain in French: Explication
explain in Galician: Explicación
explain in Dutch: Verklaring (wetenschap)
explain in Norwegian: Forklaring
explain in Slovak: Vysvetlenie
explain in Finnish: Selittäminen
explain in Turkish: Açıklama

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absolve, account, account for, acquit, aid, allegorize, analyze, answer, bottom, break down, clarify, clear, clear the way, clear up, condone, construe, crack, cry sour grapes, debug, decipher, decode, define, delineate, demonstrate, demythologize, describe, destigmatize, detail, disclose, discourse, disentangle, divine, do, do justice to, dope, dope out, ease, elucidate, enlighten, euhemerize, exculpate, excuse, exemplify, exonerate, expedite, explain away, explicate, exposit, expound, extenuate, facilitate, fathom, figure out, find out, find the answer, find the solution, get, get across, get over, get right, give reason for, give the meaning, grease, grease the ways, grease the wheels, guess, guess right, harangue, hasten, have it, help along, hit it, hold forth, illuminate, illustrate, interpret, justify, lecture, legitimate, legitimatize, loose, lubricate, make clear, make it clear, make out, make plain, make way for, moralize, oil, open the lock, open the way, open up, palliate, pave the way, plumb, point a moral, popularize, preach, prepare the way, psych, psych out, purge, put across, put over, puzzle out, quicken, rationalize, ravel, ravel out, read a lesson, rehabilitate, reinstate, remove friction, resolve, restore, riddle, run interference for, sermonize, shed light upon, show, show how, show the way, simplify, smooth, smooth the way, soap the ways, solve, sort out, speed, spell out, throw light upon, unbar, unblock, unclog, undo, unfold, unjam, unlock, unravel, unriddle, unscramble, untangle, untwist, unweave, vindicate, vulgarize, warrant, work, work out
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