How do you ask someone to explain something in very simple words, understandable by everyone from general public? In Russia we say something, that can be translated like "explain on fingers". What's the correct English for this?
Could you put that in layman's terms?
For clarity, some of the phrases given as answers have more of an "explain it succinctly," than an "explain it simply" connotation. Others have more of a give me the essentials meaning. Here's some more of each (there is some overlap):
give me the quick and dirty
give me the Reader's Digest version
what's the TL;DR?
draw me a picture
spell it out for me
break it down for me
make it plain
get down to the nitty gritty
get to the meat and potatoes
get down to brass tacks
give me the nuts and bolts
"Just the facts, ma'am"
You could say
Give me the CliffsNotes.
CliffsNotes are short synopses of longer literary works, usually used by students who don't want to read a whole work
Or you could try:
Give me the elevator pitch.
This is used in business a lot. The idea is that you are asking someone to pretend that they happen to get on an elevator with a prime customer and they only have the time between when the doors close and they open on the customer's floor to sell him on a product or an idea.
I especially like the phrase Denzel Washington's character used again and again in the film Philadelphia:
Joe Miller: Now, explain it to me like I'm a four-year-old.