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Meaning of explain

ex•plain

Pronunciation: (ik-splān'), [key]
— v.t.
  1. to make plain or clear; render understandable or intelligible: to explain an obscure point.
  2. to make known in detail: to explain how to do something.
  3. to assign a meaning to; interpret: How can you explain such a silly remark?
  4. to make clear the cause or reason of; account for: I cannot explain his strange behavior.
—v.i.
  1. to give an explanation.
  2. He couldn't explain away his absence from home at the time the robbery was committed.
    1. to diminish or nullify the significance of by explanation:He couldn't explain away his absence from home at the time the robbery was committed.
    2. to dispel (doubts, difficulties, etc.) by explanation:She explained away the child's fears.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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