explain (oneself)

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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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

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
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References in classic literature ?
But how can I hope to explain myself here; and yet, in some dim, random way, explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be naught.
I assured him, "how extremely desirous I was that he should be satisfied on every point; but I doubted much, whether it would be possible for me to explain myself on several subjects, whereof his honour could have no conception; because I saw nothing in his country to which I could resemble them; that, however, I would do my best, and strive to express myself by similitudes, humbly desiring his assistance when I wanted proper words;" which he was pleased to promise me.
But soon, finding myself driven into a corner, I was obliged to explain myself point by point.
I don't know how to explain myself"--she drew together her troubled brows-- "but it seems as if I'd never before understood with how much that is hard and shabby and base the most exquisite pleasures may be paid."
'Do not ask me,' continued Mr Haredale, 'to explain myself. If I were to do so, you would think me the victim of some hideous fancy.
It is an awkward word, but I do not know how better to explain myself."
`I can't explain MYSELF, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, `because I'm not myself, you see.'
I need not explain myself farther; and though WE know this anxiety to be quite needless, yet if she feels it, it will easily account for her behaviour to me; and so deservedly dear as he is to his sister, whatever anxiety she must feel on his behalf is natural and amiable.
You look astonished, my dear sir--let me frankly explain myself. While you were the respectable son of Doctor Softly, and grandson of Lady Malkinshaw, I was ready enough to let my daughter associate with you, and should not have objected if you had married her off my hands into a highly-connected family.
I will say nothing to annoy you--I only ask leave to explain myself. Will you take your chair again?"
'Wait a moment, Lawrence, and let me explain myself; and don't be so very - I don't know what to call it - inaccessible as you are.
I have told you that I find it difficult to explain myself. You are hard upon me.
"I don't want to touch it -- I only want to explain myself. A lady has posted a letter here, addressed to 'Noel Vanstone, Esq., Admiral Bartram's, St.
'My lord, I can't explain myself. I don't know what always come over me.
As a bisexual single feminist woman from Fargo, I was always having to explain myself; with pregnancy and my first kid, I was able to melt into the identity of mother, which is, superficially, held in high esteem and easily understood.