1. To flatten; to spread out; to unfold; to expand. "The horse-chestnut is . . . Ready to explain its leaf." (Evelyn)

2. To make plain, manifest, or intelligible; to clear of obscurity; to expound; to unfold and illustrate the meaning of; as, to explain a chapter of the Bible. "Commentators to explain the difficult passages to you." (Gay) To explain away, to get rid of by explanation. "Those explain the meaning quite "away."

Synonyms: To expound, interpret, elucidate, clear up.

Origin: L. Explandare to flatten, spread out, explain; ex out+plandare to make level or plain, planus plain: cf. OF. Esplaner, explaner. See Plain, and cf. Esplanade.

(01 Mar 1998)

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