explain

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*at great length

for a long period of time. (*Typically: explain ~; question someone ~; speak ~.) The lawyer questioned the witness at great length.
See also: great, length

explain (oneself)

 
1. to explain what one has said or done or what one thinks or feels. (Formal and polite.) Please take a moment to explain yourself. I'm sure we are interested in your ideas. Yes, if you will let me explain myself, I think you'll agree with my idea.
2. to give an explanation or excuse for something wrong that one may have done. (Usually said in anger.) Young man! Come in here and explain yourself this instant. Why did you do that, Tom Smith? You had better explain yourself, and it had better be good.

explain someone or something to someone

to give information or instruction about someone or something to someone. Please explain it to me. Can you explain Andrew to me?
See also: explain

explain something away

to explain something so that it is no longer a problem. You can try to explain it away if you want, but that won't solve the problem. You can't just explain away all your problems.
See also: away, explain

explain away something

also explain something away
to invent reasons why something is unimportant You will find it hard to explain away all these mistakes. Rather than face the truth, we try to explain it away.
See also: away, explain

explain away

Dismiss or minimize the importance of something, especially something detrimental. For example, "His words were taken down, and though he tried to explain them away, he was sent to the Tower" (Thomas Macaulay, The History of England, 1855). [c. 1700]
See also: away, explain

explain oneself

1. Clarify what one has said or done, as in If you have a few minutes, I'll try to explain myself. [First half of 1600s]
2. Demand or give an explanation or excuse for something wrong one has done. For example, You're three hours late-can you explain yourself?
See also: explain

explain away

v.
To dismiss or minimize the significance of something by explanation: The candidate tried to explain his earlier misstatements away. The researcher explained away the criticisms that were raised against her hypothesis.
See also: away, explain
References in periodicals archive ?
Decisions and actions are not explainable or auditable, making this approach inappropriate for safety-critical systems.
Most scientific work consists of trying to move things from the category "partially explainable" to the category "fully explainable.
I would classify this story as "low fantasy" as it is set in the world as we know it but a nonrational event has occurred which is not explainable, rationally or irrationally, by natural law.
Dances at a Gathering, less explainable, sweeps you off your lyrical feet.
Wearing inappropriate clothing could be completely explainable, depending on the circumstances and surroundings.
There does not seem to be any explainable reason not to "open the books" on the H-1B jobs list--unless American companies are concerned about the public relations ramifications of ignoring qualified American workers because foreign nationals will cost less.
The lower level of the inflation rate is explainable primarily by the extremely weak cyclical tendency in unit labour costs.
Thus, these students may persistently complain about stomachaches, headaches, and other physical ailments without explainable causes.
It is explainable statistically mostly through population-wide decreases in three targeted CHD risk factors: tobacco use, serum cholesterol, and blood pressure.
The subtle questions raised in these powerful narratives and poems are moving tributes to deeply rooted ancestral links and indigenous spiritual "ways of knowing" that are not always explainable.
Evil is thus not a thing but an action explainable only through good, albeit misused, beings.
The situation is perhaps explainable in the light of historical events, which have created divisions among nursing groups.
If the presence of an alternative diagnosis is to be used as justification for discontinuing SARS-specific isolation precautions, the alternative diagnoses should be based only upon tests with high positive predictive value, and the clinical illness should be fully explainable by the diagnosis.
Good design should be compelling, involving and explainable," insists Martin Smith.