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 — compare implicit sense 1a
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 3b

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The operating systems will include software that will analyze image attachments to determine whether a photo is explicit. Jim Rossman, Dallas News, 12 Aug. 2021 Districts are required to follow students’ individual education plans for anyone enrolled in any school service, but Cori Mielke worries that part of the communication may not have been explicit. oregonlive, 7 July 2021 Unlike many of his predecessors, Nas’s claim to his sexuality is explicit. New York Times, 7 July 2021 This mockery is not explicit but expressed more broadly in Benzion’s disbelief that a Jew would look at the Gentile world and see anything but hostility. Noah Kulwin, The New Republic, 24 June 2021 On Monday, Italian Premier Mario Draghi was explicit in blaming Trump for weakening fundamental alliances. Jonathan Lemire And Calvin Woodward, Star Tribune, 15 June 2021 Her description of what happened was explicit, the investigator said. al, 14 June 2021 The communiqué issued Sunday fleshed out some of the proposals that have dominated the summit and was explicit in the need to counter the rise of China. BostonGlobe.com, 13 June 2021 At times this was explicit, as in his science-fiction tales that took the form of medical case histories, or travelogues and news reports about ballooning. Daniel Engber, The Atlantic, 11 June 2021

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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Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Explicit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explicit. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for explicit



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

More from Merriam-Webster on explicit

Nglish: Translation of explicit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of explicit for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about explicit


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