explain away

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v. ex·plained, ex·plain·ing, ex·plains
1. To make plain or comprehensible.
2. To define; expound: We explained our plan to the committee.
a. To offer reasons for or a cause of; justify: explain an error.
b. To offer reasons for the actions, beliefs, or remarks of (oneself).
To make something plain or comprehensible: Let me explain.
Phrasal Verb:
explain away
To dismiss or minimize the significance of (something) by means of an explanation or excuse: There is no way to explain away my carelessness.

[Middle English explanen, from Latin explānāre : ex-, intensive pref.; see ex- + plānus, clear; see pelə- in Indo-European roots.]

ex·plain′a·ble adj.
Synonyms: explain, elucidate, explicate, interpret, construe
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).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

explain away

(tr, adverb) to offer excuses or reasons for (bad conduct, mistakes, etc)
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:


1. To make understandable:
Archaic: enucleate.
Idiom: put into plain English.
2. To find a solution for:
Informal: dope out, figure out.
3. To offer reasons for or a cause of:
phrasal verb
explain away
To conceal or make light of a fault or offense:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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vt sepeine Erklärung finden für
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


(ikˈsplein) verb
1. to make (something) clear or easy to understand. Can you explain the railway timetable to me?; Did she explain why she was late?
2. to give, or be, a reason for. I cannot explain his failure; That explains his silence.
explanation (ekspləˈneiʃən) noun
1. the act or process of explaining. Let me give a few words of explanation.
2. a statement or fact that explains. There are several possible explanations for the explosion.
exˈplanatory (-ˈsplӕnə-) adjective
giving an explanation. There are explanatory notes in this book.
explain away
to get rid of (difficulties etc) by clever explaining. She could not explain away the missing money.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
I have nothing to defend, or to explain away. The truth is the truth; and neither childish absurdities, nor unscrupulous contradictions, can make it otherwise.
pow-wows, while Diana and Fred, and many other gay couples, loitered along the dusky, starlit country roads, there was a queer, lonely ache in her heart which she could not explain away. Gilbert did not even write to her, as she thought he might have done.
And how you will explain away any part of your guilt in that dreadful business, I confess is beyond my comprehension."
His next concern is to explain away the air of paradox, for James was never wilfully paradoxical.
Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away. Let us have our coffee in the music-room, Dorian.
I could not desert old Raffles, even when I would, but must try to explain away his mask as well, if he had not the sense to take it off in time.
Kadir also said that voters should consider demanding Osman's resignation as the state's MB if he cannot explain away the controversy.
Mr Adams has apologised, and he certainly won't be the last Twitter user forced to explain away social media utterances.
CAMERON tries to explain away his father's dodgy dealings, saying he hasn't benefited.
The scumbag tried to explain away his vile actions by claiming it was his victims' fault.
Will this be the method used by the new health chiefs to explain away the dire problems of the North Wales Health Service by transferring the blame of their incompetence to those entitled to make use of this facility?
Whenever things go seriously wrong and kids get abused and hurt, social services just take what they are told to explain away those burns and bruises without a second thought.