explain

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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

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

*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

v.
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 classic literature ?
It would not do, Ostrinski explained, for the proletariat of one nation to achieve the victory, for that nation would be crushed by the military power of the others; and so the Socialist movement was a world movement, an organization of all mankind to establish liberty and fraternity.
There were his Packingtown experiences, for instance--what was there about Packingtown that Ostrinski could not explain! To Jurgis the packers had been equivalent to fate; Ostrinski showed him that they were the Beef Trust.
just both sorts of vermouth and gin, and a dash of something to give it a flavour," Granet explained carelessly.
"The lady who was giving the luncheon--Lady Anselman--called and saw the manager about an hour ago," the man explained. "She has interested herself very much in the matter of Belgian refugees and is entertaining a great many of them at a house of hers near the seaside.
I have, however, been assured that a frog exists on the mountains of the great island of New Zealand; but I suspect that this exception (if the information be correct) may be explained through glacial agency.
The exceptions are few, and most of them can be explained. Thus the plants of Kerguelen Land, though standing nearer to Africa than to America, are related, and that very closely, as we know from Dr.
`I'm going to wash and dress, and then I'll come down and explain things.
The instructor also reinforces the goal of bank robbery prevention, explains the concept of "target hardening," tests employees' powers of observation and explains methods to increase these skills, and educates students on basic crime prevention techniques that are currently in use in other programs.
Holding down two prestigious positions, Golden explains there is no line of demarcation between her work and her personal life.
Initially, as Tubbs explains it, the team was charged with evolving designs that `would tell a story about what Britain had done in the past'.
Nathan Cope, M.D., explains, "Rehabilitation of the [person with TBI] is now known to require a combination of medical and psychological approaches provided over an increasingly extensive length of time.
He explains that although consciousness is a "first-person" experience, it is possible to study it with scientific objectivity.
"If oxidation damages DNA, it could cause cancer by preventing the DNA from replicating accurately," explains the National Cancer Institute's Regina Ziegler.
Watching the video, "The Never-ending Saga of Firearms Ownership in New Jersey," explains why, in a clever and informative way.
Translated by Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Ethics of the Sages Annotated & Explained presents wisdom sayings of the early rabbinic sages (250 BCE-250 CE) collected in the classic "Pirke Avot" with extensive facing-page commentary that clarifies and explains the meaning of every segment.