Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


adjective tac·it \ˈta-sət\

Simple Definition of tacit

  • : expressed or understood without being directly stated

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of tacit

  1. 1 :  expressed or carried on without words or speech <the blush was a tacit answer — Bram Stoker>

  2. 2 :  implied or indicated (as by an act or by silence) but not actually expressed <tacit consent> <tacit admission of guilt>

tacitly adverb
tacitness noun

Examples of tacit in a sentence

  1. While they got a frosty public response, officials say the private message was a tacit green light. —Mark Thompson, Time, 16 Nov. 1998

  2. Magic requires tacit cooperation of the audience with the magician—an abandonment of skepticism … the willing suspension of disbelief. —Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, 1996

  3. What a writer must always remember, however, is that with rare exceptions—Edith Wharton then, Louis Auchincloss now—he or she is never really in society; a temporary visa is issued with the tacit stipulation that it will be withdrawn and access denied if confidences are betrayed. —John Gregory Dunne, Harp, 1989

  4. Myself, I like to play the field and see what happens, but there are certain tacit rules: do not mix freshwater fish with those from the sea; do not mix coarse fat fish with delicate ones … —M.F.K. Fisher, With Bold Knife and Fork, 1969

  5. She felt that she had her parents' tacit approval to borrow the car.

  6. There was a tacit agreement that he would pay off the loan.

Origin of tacit

Middle French or Latin; Middle French tacite, from Latin tacitus silent, from past participle of tacēre to be silent; akin to Old High German dagēn to be silent

First Known Use: 1576

Rhymes with tacit

TACIT Defined for Kids


adjective tac·it \ˈta-sət\

Definition of tacit for Students

  1. :  understood or made known without being put into words <I have Mom's tacit approval to go to the movie.>

tacitly adverb

Law Dictionary


adjective tac·it \ˈta-sət\

Legal Definition of tacit

  1. 1 :  implied (as by an act or by silence) rather than express <a tacit admission>

  2. 2 in the civil law of Louisiana :  arising by operation of law <a tacit mortgage>

tacitly adverb

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up tacit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


expressing little or no emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.