Meaning of EXPLAIN in English


/ ɪkˈspleɪn; NAmE / verb


explain sth (to sb) to tell sb about sth in a way that makes it easy to understand :

[ vn ]

First, I'll explain the rules of the game.

It was difficult to explain the problem to beginners.

[ v ]

'Let me explain!' he added helpfully.

[ v that ]

I explained that an ambulance would be coming soon.

[ v wh- ]

He explained who each person in the photo was.

Can you explain how the email system works?

She explained to them what to do in an emergency.

[ v speech ]

'It works like this,' she explained.

[also vn that ]


explain sth (to sb) to give a reason, or be a reason, for sth :

[ v ]

She tried to explain but he wouldn't listen.

[ v that ]

Alex explained that his car had broken down.

[ v wh- ]

Well, that doesn't explain why you didn't phone.

[ vn ]

Scientific findings that help explain the origins of the universe.

The government now has to explain its decision to the public.

( informal )

Oh well then, that explains it (= I understand now why sth happened) .

HELP NOTE : You cannot say 'explain me, him, her, etc.':

Can you explain the situation to me?

Can you explain me the situation?

I'll explain to you why I like it.

I'll explain you why I like it.


- explain yourself


- explain sth away



explain verb

explanation noun

explanatory adjective

explicable adjective (≠ inexplicable )



late Middle English : from Latin explanare , based on planus plain.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.