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 As our paper shows, neglecting to make this goal an explicit outcome can lead to excessive gentrification as an unintended consequence. Mallory Richards, Scientific American, "Who Benefits from Public Green Space?," 19 Sep. 2020 Those problems include convincing people that the apps are effective in deterring coronavirus, and then getting the explicit permissions the apps need to function. Ann-marie Alcántara, WSJ, "New Crop of Covid-Tracking Apps Addresses Old Concerns," 19 Sep. 2020 Morath was not as explicit when addressing the state’s A-F school accountability system, which largely uses STAAR results to grade campus and district performance. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "STAAR returns in 2021 and other takeaways on the state of Texas education," 18 Sep. 2020 Now comes a new, wider wave of protests, these with the explicit blessing of the NFL, and the rumblings about the league’s demise have started anew. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Truth is, NFL thriving while players take action on social injustice," 18 Sep. 2020 Other thinkers are less explicit, but pore over the details of Germany’s technical-education system or social-insurance market. The Economist, "Bagehot Whatever the question, the answer is Germany," 29 Aug. 2020 Indeed, the very existence of the ISS depended on making these limits to collaboration explicit to all the countries involved. Daniel Oberhaus, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Cold War Politics Shaped the International Space Station," 9 Sep. 2020 Studies have previously shown that explicit or implicit racial biases among health care workers can lead to lower quality treatment. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Mike Bloomberg gives $100 million to Black medical students," 3 Sep. 2020 This difference in applied force may be attributable to differences in officer perceptions or attitudes (including but not limited to explicit or implicit racial bias). James R. Copland, National Review, "In Policing, Race Matters," 20 Aug. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of explicit was in 1549

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Statistics for explicit

Last Updated

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Explicit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explicit. Accessed 28 Sep. 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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