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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 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

*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

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

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

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 ?
Anderson, Commissioner Egan explained that DOT's $3.
According to the Rahnmet executive, the officials not only gave quick approval to the company's export plans, but they also explained potential pitfalls regarding the market.
Stahl, Stahl Specialty Co, explained some of the advantages of another gravity pouring process--tilt pour.
We explained that because of a convergence of events on that particular end-of-the-month Saturday, we didn't have another $500 in our checking account, and temporarily we didn't have a credit card.
Talisman explained that the Subpart F study will address deferral and policy questions, while the tax haven initiative is aimed at encouraging countries to cooperate with the United States' information needs.
He explained why: superior performance; ease of installation; a 20-30 year life span; reliability; difficult to "tap" and far less subject to interference, cross-talk and other impediments; low maintenance; and smaller, lighter and stronger material with far more "crush" resistance.
Once we communicated the gravity of losing a major customer, the program explained the historical context, and outlined the company's strategic response to competition.
Evans explained that manufacturing companies traditionally search for the most cost-effective and easily accessible location to begin operations.
That phenomenon, says Blitz, can be explained if the sun is now heading away from the galactic center and toward the gas, in the elliptical orbit predicted by the watermelon model.
We understand and appreciate concerns about corruption in Iraq," explained Mr Bichir, "as rumors about it continue.
The former Army corporal explained how he surrendered to the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II and was forced to walk nearly 70 miles in what became known as the Bataan Death March.
Burke explained that the primary objectives of the Institute included: (i) educating its members through conferences, seminars, and meetings; (ii) educating legislators and tax administrators through targeted advocacy on administrative matters; (iii) providing opportunities for networking among members at the Institute's 47 local chapters; and (iv) promoting high ethical standards and principles in interpreting the tax law, complying faithfully with its requirements, and dealing fairly with tax administrators.
Larry Small, president of Fannie Mae, explained the policy developed once they saw they were missing opportunities to make money.
Couvrette explained that the 34- by 10-foot pontoon boat which was launched on Lake Sesikinika, near Kirkland Lake, last month had to be specially designed to include such features as a wheelchair ramp at the front of the craft and a layout which would allow for all the wheelchairs to face outwards.