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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. © 2022 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 ?
As Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black explained in one landmark church-state case, 'The constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to' meddle in religion.
The neutral body and actors are looked at, the Feldenkrais method involving a group lesson known as "Awareness Through Movement" is explained and Feldenkrais's thoughts about the body are compared to those of Alexander.
Key terms within each topic are explained. For instance, the section on electricity defines the various types of current and shows how they make a light bulb produce light or an iron get hot.
"The Future Force Warrior will be a responsive and formidable member of an invincible battlespace team," DeGay explained, describing the system scheduled to be fielded by 2010.
Angus explained that the cost safe harbor in the current regulations has prompted many comments concerning what types of services fit within its borders.
The disconnect between employers and the workforce is explained by noting that, until now, companies did not have the tools necessary to measure, evaluate and predict the results of the company's human resource strategies.
As explained below, students in groups discuss either real or fictional vignettes applying the motivational theories to their lives.
The short-term horizon of today's emerging market money managers is to be explained in large measure by the footloose nature of mutual fund money, which means today's money managers are expected to show good performance on a month-by-month basis.
The author does a good job of presenting the relevant historiography, the chronology is clear, and the issues are generally well explained. His descriptions of people and places are vivid.
Mothers explained that they do not allow their children to play outside because Border Patrol vehicles recklessly careen through neighborhoods, and many community members described being stopped by Border Patrol agents while shopping at the local Wal-Mart that stands just five blocks from the border.
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 = 9.369, df = 10, p = .00).
Last year, a column even explained why the new phone system increased the monthly phone bills of residents with computers and advised them of cost-saving strategies.
His interpreter explained that when the Persian uprising began, rebels tried to torch the garden, but the gardener stood in the doorway facing death rather than let the garden be destroyed.
There are also numerous illustrations to clarify the text, and, when necessary, the theory behind the operational principles of each mechanism is explained. The second section of the hook provides a detailed step-by-step process for implementing the Zero Breakdown Strategies program.
Nor is anything said explicitly or explained a la lettre.