The dictionary says is intransitive. Isn't it also transitive ?. For example if you say that Tom explained his bad treatment to Mary away (to explain something away).

Or am I getting it wrong?
I'd never use "explain away" intransitively (except, fairly unusually, in the different sense of "explain at length").

To me, there seems too much distance in your sentence between "explained" and "away". I think I would write it as "Tom explained away his bad treatment to Mary".
Sorry, I made a mistake. It said Transitive only. I must've looked it up quickly.

I'll take advantage of this thread and ask if there are other ways (idioms or phrasal verbs) to convey the same idea of explaining away.
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Hmm. I can't think of any other words or concise idioms that convey exactly this meaning. Perhaps someone else can come up with something.
EyeSeeYouto convey the same idea of explaining away.
I don't know of any exact synonyms, but these are somewhat related.

gloss over, cover up, make light of, allow for


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That is the one I was trying to think of!
Thank you all.
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