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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

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 ?
Susan Aspey of the Education Department calls Jennings' comment "absurd," explaining that the department has issued clear guidelines regarding the policies.
The largest part of the book, however, is devoted to explaining the early life of the universe.
My oldest brother works in corporate America, my oldest sister is in medicine, and the other had no problem explaining her Masters degree in education.
Toward the end, he completes the cycle by explaining the different types of paper and ink that are used in the actual printing process.
In 1684, astronomer Edmund Halley and architect Sir Christopher Wren were wrestling with a mathematical proof for explaining planetary orbits.
We set out with the hope of showing as many faces as we could while explaining the importance of such events as the awards ceremonies and the national officers' retiring addresses; those were memorable highlights," he says.
To be sure, socioeconomic status and the trappings of poverty are important factors in explaining racial differences in educational achievement.
My research showed me that the Apostle Paul seems to have had two streams in Corinth, and he wrote to them telling them so, and explaining the problem and its cause (Corinthians 3:1).
Abrams crafts some future supplemental material for ``Alias'' DVD boxed sets by explaining how he created Sydney Bristow and, for good measure, Felicity Porter.
Of these multiple regression equations, the equation including factors associated with labor processes directly affecting professionals' work with clients explained 43% of the variance in frustration, explaining the most variance of all equations tested (F = 9.
Sukkot is a celebration of God's creation, so we want to be careful to celebrate it in the right way," Barkan says, explaining the Talmud's strict rules about the etrog ("the fruit of beautiful trees"), lulav ("branches of palms"), and myrtel ("boughs of thick tree foliage").
The first chapter offers an overly anemic and uninformative political narrative that falls way short of explaining what really happened during the period of her study.
Usually, they admit taking money from the victim, promising an extraordinary return, explaining the guarantee of the investment, and failing to perform as promised.
To teach what an IQ test truly is, she gives the brown eyes half of the answers to an impossible test before the blue eyes enter the room, explaining that, for people of color, the IQ exam is "a test about which you know absolutely nothing.
Many humour experts believe that incongruity is the key to explaining humour.