Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

explain away - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyexplain away
he/she/itexplains away
present participleexplaining away
past tenseexplained away
past participleexplained away
  1. to tell someone about something in a way that makes them think it is unimportant, so that they do not ask questions about it

    She made up stories to explain away the missing money.

See also main entry: explain
quiz invitation

Open Dictionary

patio diplomacy

high-level diplomats meeting and dining in an informal environment e.g. a party or club

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play