spell (sth) out


1. explain something very clearly






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do I have to spell it out for you?

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This expression refers to making something as clear or detailed as possible so that it is simple to understand. However, it is often used in a negative context as the term implies that you explain something in such a basic fashion that it is almost as if you were speaking to a child. For that reason, if somebody 'spells something out' to you, it can be insulting or patronizing. A noun or pronoun can be used between 'spell' and 'out.' It is common in both a social and professional context, and shares a similarity to the phrases 'put it simply' and 'put it in plain English.'

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  1. The instruction manual for putting the flat pack furniture together is excellent. It spells out exactly what you need to do.
  2. Get it through your head that I'm not interested. Sorry to be blunt, but spelling things out to you is my only option because you can't seem to take a hint.
  3. Your ideas for renovating your house are great, but you've yet to spell out exactly how you intend to pay for it all.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. If you had been saving your work as you went along, you wouldn't have lost all your data. Do I really have to spell that out for you?
  2. There was no room for error, so the boss spelled out exactly what she needed from us to get the project completed.

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