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at great length

For a long duration. When I came home after curfew, my mom interrogated me at great length. He spoke at great length about how he had been inspired by his trip.
See also: great, length

explain (oneself)

1. verb To clarify something that one has said or done. I'm sorry, I didn't quite follow your line of thinking—can you explain yourself?
2. verb To explain why one has done something, usually something bad or wrong. Often used as an imperative in the phrase "explain yourself." Now that they caught me plagiarizing, I'm going to have to explain myself before a disciplinary committee. Explain yourself—what could have possibly convinced you that it was OK to plagiarize your paper?
See also: explain

explain (someone or something) to (one)

To attempt to improve one's understanding of someone or something through explanation. Please explain Claire to me because I can't understand some of the wacky things she's done. Can you explain this chapter to me? I just don't get it.
See also: explain, to

explain away

To try to minimize a problem or issue through explanation. A noun or pronoun can be used between "explain" and "away." He's trying to explain it away, but I know he lied to me.
See also: away, explain
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*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, to

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

exˈplain yourself

1 give somebody reasons for your behaviour, especially when they are angry or upset because of it: I really don’t see why I should have to explain myself to you.
2 say what you mean in a clear way: Could you explain yourself a little more — I didn’t understand.
See also: explain
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
A written order issued by the Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division on Monday said that lawyer Robert Sison was instructed to explain his absence during the hearing for the motion filed by his client seeking to avail of post-conviction remedies.
Both business are based in Newcastle and Wood Holmes will become part of the Explain brand.
Freddie Wong, 32, an avid skateboarder, joined Explain in the New Year and brings with him 10 years' experience from a career in public sector research and management consultancy.
I've had gun dealers from New Jersey try to explain to me what they face in doing business in the state.
In an entry on Americans United's blog "The Wall of Separation," AU staffer Lauren Smith dissected Dobson's position--and explained why it is wrong.
Hiserodt's book goes on to explain how Americans are negatively affected by the government's reliance on Linear Nothreshold Theory: avoiding nuclear power (a power source arguably much safer and more plentiful than fossil fuels); forfeiting medical advances (higher live birth rates and fewer birth defects); adding unnecessary angst into our lives (he explains that radioactive "dirty bombs" aren't as dangerous as the public has been led to believe); and wasting money (our government is digging up "radioactive hot spots" for "safe" containment at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, yet the sites emit less radioactivity than one would find in normal background radiation of large parts of the world).
The authors explain how certain factors, among them business processes, corporate culture, business infrastructure and people themselves, can determine if information at hand is used negatively or positively.
Mann and Ornstein admit that modern-day hyperpartisanship can't entirely explain it, but it turns out that one of their case studies provides the most likely answer--though they themselves don't quite seem to realize it.
The section,"Anatomy and Physiology of Voice Production," uses charts, graphics and bulleted text to explain how voice is produced, with the premise that a clear understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the voice will help a patient understand his or her condition.
Indeed, he adds, that's why he was off to China, to explain the advantages of IFRS, which he says is to drive inland investment.
States Test Limits of Federal AYP Flexibility, released last fall by the Center on Education Policy, and The Unraveling of No Child Left Behind: How Negotiated Changes Transform the Law, released in February by The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, explain that individual states are changing their accountability plans to essentially get more flexibility in meeting adequate yearly progress.
Experts have several theories that might explain how physical activity protects the colon.
Briefly explain why organized Labor's reputation suffered in the 1950s.--