(New American Roget's College Thesaurus)
v. t. expound, solve, elucidate, resolve, fathom, account for; demonstrate, construe, interpret, define, describe, develop, detail, criticize, comment. See answer, attribution, interpretation.
(Roget's IV) v.
Syn. interpret, explicate, account for, elucidate, illustrate, clarify, illuminate, make clear, describe, expound, teach, manifest, reveal, disclose, point up, point out, demonstrate, tell, refine, read, translate, paraphrase, render, put in other words, decipher, assign a meaning to, construe, define, disentangle, justify, rationalize, untangle, unravel, make plain, unfold, come to the point, put across, throw light upon, show by example, restate, rephrase, simplify, demystify, annotate, comment on, remark upon, offer an explanation, resolve, clear up, set right, put on the right track, unscramble, spell out, articulate, go into detail, get to the bottom of, figure out, speak out, emphasize, cast light upon, get across, get over, get through, get to, bring out, work out, solve, make sense of, make oneself understood, hammer into one's head*, put in plain English*.
Ant. puzzle, confuse*, confound.
Syn.- explain implies making clear or intelligible something that is not known or understood [ to explain how a machine operates ] ; expound implies a systematic and thorough explanation, often by a person having expert knowledge [ to expound a theory ] ; explicate implies a scholarly analysis or exposition that is developed in detail [ the explication of a Biblical passage ] ; elucidate implies a shedding light upon by clear and specific explanation, illustration, etc. [ to elucidate the country's foreign policy ] ; to interpret is to bring out meanings not immediately apparent, as by translation, searching insight, or special knowledge [ how do you interpret his behavior? ] ; construe suggests a careful interpretation of something especially where meaning is ambiguous [ her silence was construed as agreement ]
(Roget's 3 Superthesaurus) v.
clarify, clear up, illustrate, explicate, elucidate, expound, interpret, define, *make plain, spell out, describe, account for, justify.
(Roget's Thesaurus II) verb 1. To make understandable: construe, decipher, explicate, expound, interpret, spell out. Archaic: enucleate. Idiom: put into plain English. See EXPLAIN. 2. To find a solution for: clear up, decipher, resolve, solve, unravel. Informal: dope out, figure out. Idiom: get to the bottom of. See ASK, REASON. 3. To offer reasons for or a cause of: account for, justify, rationalize. See EXPLAIN.

English dictionary for students. 2013.

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  • explain — 1 Explain, expound, explicate, elucidate, interpret, construe are comparable when they mean to make oneself or another understand the meaning of something. Explain, the most general term, implies a making of something plain or intelligible to… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Explain — Ex*plain ([e^]ks*pl[=a]n ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Explained}([e^]ks*pl[=a]nd ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Explaining}.] [L. explandare to flatten, spread out, explain; ex out + plandare to make level or plain, planus plain: cf. OF. esplaner, explaner. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • explain — [ek splān′, iksplān′] vt. [ME explanen < L explanare, to flatten < ex , out + planare, to make level < planus, level (see PLANE2): sp. infl. by PLAIN1] 1. to make clear, plain, or understandable 2. to give the meaning or interpretation… …   English World dictionary

  • explain — (v.) early 15c., from L. explanare to make level, smooth out; also to explain, make clear (see EXPLANATION (Cf. explanation)). Originally explane, spelling altered by influence of plain. In 17c., occasionally used more literally, of the unfolding …   Etymology dictionary

  • explain — ► VERB 1) make clear by giving a detailed description. 2) give a reason or justification for. 3) (explain oneself) excuse or justify one s motives or conduct. 4) (explain away) minimize the significance of (something awkward) by giving an excuse… …   English terms dictionary

  • Explain — Ex*plain , v. i. To give an explanation. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • explain — I verb account for, annotate, assign a meaning to, cause to be understood, clarify, clear of obscurity, clear up, decipher, define, demonstrate, describe, disentangle, elucidate, enlighten, enucleate, exemplify, expedire, explanare, explicate,… …   Law dictionary

  • explain — [v] make clear; give a reason for account for, analyze, annotate, break down, bring out, clarify, clear up, construe, decipher, define, demonstrate, describe, diagram, disclose, elucidate, excuse, explicate, expound, get across*, go into detail,… …   New thesaurus

  • explain — ex|plain W1S1 [ıkˈspleın] v [I and T] [Date: 1500 1600; : Latin; Origin: explanare to make level, unfold , from planus level, flat ] 1.) to tell someone about something in a way that is clear or easy to understand ▪ Our lawyer carefully explained …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • explain — ex|plain [ ık spleın ] verb *** 1. ) transitive to tell someone something in a way that helps them understand it better: My full name is Juliet Avery, Juliet explained patiently. explain something to someone: The doctor explained the risks to me… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • explain */*/*/ — UK [ɪkˈspleɪn] / US verb Word forms explain : present tense I/you/we/they explain he/she/it explains present participle explaining past tense explained past participle explained 1) a) [transitive] to tell someone something in a way that helps… …   English dictionary

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