How should I say in Classical Latin the following phrases?

  • "Explain yourself!"

  • "I didn't explain myself well", "I didn't make myself / wasn't clear"

I've been thinking of the verbs explico and explano, and the adjective dilucidus,a,um , but I couldn't find a natural and attested way to phrase those expressions.


Well, here we have the reflexive pronouns and

Moreover, with the tone you are setting with the phrase "explain yourself," I would think excusa would be better.


Tē excusa! Explain yourself!
Mē non bene (clare; delucide) explicare. I did not explain myself well (clearly).
Non mē clarus/-a (dilucidus/-a) fuī. I was not clear.
-or better-
Non mē claravī. I did not make myself clear.

(someone correct me on the case of the reflexive)

  • "Explain yourself!" may indeed sometimes (not always though) be tantamount to "Justify yourself!", but in that case excuso does not seem the way to go: L&S give "to excuse sb/sth, to apologize for, to atone for". // The verbs claro and explico don't seem to take a personal pronoun - at least, I couldn't find any instances of explicavi me or claravi me (and analogues). // For a person, to be clarus/a meant to be "illustrious", not "clear" - and dilucidus refers to speech itself, not people. – Vincenzo Oliva May 15 at 10:16
  • @ Vincenzo Oliva: Do you have any recommendation for a good lexicon or dictionary that would better explain the subtleties to better aid my diction? – Media Matella Lucretia Flores May 17 at 20:47

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