Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
These verbs mean to make the nature or meaning of something understandable. Explain is the most widely applicable: The professor used a diagram to explain the theory of continental drift. The manual explained how the new software worked. To elucidate is to throw light on something complex: "Man's whole life and environment have been laid open and elucidated" (Thomas Carlyle).
Explicate implies detailed and usually learned and lengthy exploration or analysis: "Ordinary language philosophers tried to explicate the standards of usage" (Jerrold J. Katz).
To interpret is to reveal the underlying meaning of something by the application of special knowledge or insight: "A radiologist can interpret images made in Saudi Arabia and beamed to Boston, sending back a diagnosis within hours" (Richard Saltus).
Construe involves putting a particular construction or interpretation on something: "I take the official oath today ... with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules" (Abraham Lincoln).
If you explain something, you give details about it so that it can be understood.
You say that you explain something to someone.
You must use to in sentences like these. Don't say, for example, 'Let me explain you about Jackie'.
You can use explain with a that-clause to say that someone tells someone else the reason for something.
Past participle: explained
|Verb||1.||explain - make plain and comprehensible; "He explained the laws of physics to his students"|
inform - impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to; "I informed him of his rights"
account for - give reasons for; "Can you account for all these absences?"
naturalize - explain with reference to nature
clarify, clear up, elucidate - make clear and (more) comprehensible; "clarify the mystery surrounding her death"
comment - explain or interpret something
|2.||explain - define; "The committee explained their plan for fund-raising to the Dean"|
|3.||explain - serve as a reason or cause or justification of; "Your need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work"; "Her recent divorce may explain her reluctance to date again"|
alibi - exonerate by means of an alibi
I explained it to him → se lo expliqué
that explains it → eso lo explica, con eso queda todo aclarado
to explain o.s (clearly) → explicarse; (morally) → justificarse, defenderse
kindly explain yourself! → ¡explíquese Vd!
I tried to explain, but → intenté explicárselo, pero ...