ex·​plic·​it | \ ik-ˈspli-sət How to pronounce explicit (audio) \

Definition of explicit

1a : fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity : leaving no question as to meaning or intent explicit instructions
b : open in the depiction of nudity or sexuality explicit books and films
2 : fully developed or formulated an explicit plan an explicit notion of our objective
3 : unambiguous in expression was very explicit on how we are to behave
4 of a mathematical function : defined by an expression containing only independent variables — compare implicit sense 1c

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Other Words from explicit

explicitness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for explicit

explicit, definite, express, specific mean perfectly clear in meaning. explicit implies such verbal plainness and distinctness that there is no need for inference and no room for difficulty in understanding. explicit instructions definite stresses precise, clear statement or arrangement that leaves no doubt or indecision. the law is definite in such cases express implies both explicitness and direct and positive utterance. her express wishes specific applies to what is precisely and fully treated in detail or particular. two specific criticisms

Examples of explicit in a Sentence

From closer restrictions on sexually explicit writing came the success, in the mid-19th century, of the novelist George Thompson, who combined graphically violent scenes set in urban dystopias with coy peekaboo references to sex. — Susan Dominus, New York Times Book Review, 5 Apr. 2009 Therefore, the Administration's policy was the explicit, if unpublicized, one that it was necessary to allow Saddam Hussein to put down the rebellions. — Elizabeth Drew, New Yorker, 6 May 1991 They were given explicit instructions. Changes to the property can't be done without their explicit consent. The law is very explicit about how these measures should be enacted. a song with explicit lyrics The movie contains scenes of explicit violence. two people engaging in explicit sex
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Recent Examples on the Web Other Europeans indicated concern with the U.S. approach but were less explicit about denying the right of the U.S. to invoke the snapback. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Germany sides with China in fight over Trump Iran threat," 30 June 2020 During the Cold War, ideals of freedom and autonomy were sold to Americans in explicit opposition to Stalinist tyranny. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "Hari Kunzru on Privacy, Surveillance, and Paranoia," 29 June 2020 More than 200 channels, many with thousands of members, include frequent and explicit threats of violence against minority communities and Black Lives Matter protesters, researchers said. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "5 things to know for June 26: Coronavirus, police, Obamacare, India, White supremacy," 26 June 2020 If your company has been explicit about a hiring freeze or holds on raises and promotions, don’t call 2020 a wash. Kristine Gill, Fortune, "How to get promoted while working remotely," 26 June 2020 While explicit housing discrimination might have ended decades ago, a 2018 Arizona Republic analysis found that many Phoenix area neighborhoods remain segregated. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "Homeownership gap among many economic disparities facing Black Arizonans," 24 June 2020 In a 2018 interview, Gilbert said that about 95% of his company's mortgages are government or agency loans that have explicit government backing against default by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae or the Federal Housing Administration. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Quicken Loans IPO: Why it may need the cash and who gets rich," 20 June 2020 American officials are not so explicit about the meaning of the exercise. The Economist, "Identify yourself China’s next move in the South China Sea," 18 June 2020 In Boogaloo Facebook groups, the complaint says, Carrillo was even more explicit about taking advantage of protests to stir up unrest and violence against police. NBC News, "Alleged 'Boogaloo' extremist charged in killing of federal officer during George Floyd protest," 16 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'explicit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of explicit

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for explicit

French or Medieval Latin; French explicite, from Medieval Latin explicitus, from Latin, past participle of explicare — see explicate

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Time Traveler for explicit

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The first known use of explicit was in 1549

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Statistics for explicit

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Explicit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explicit. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for explicit


How to pronounce explicit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of explicit

: very clear and complete : leaving no doubt about the meaning
: showing or referring very openly to nudity, violence, or sexual activity
: openly shown


ex·​plic·​it | \ ik-ˈspli-sət How to pronounce explicit (audio) \

Kids Definition of explicit

: so clear in statement that there is no doubt about the meaning explicit instructions

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