ex·plic·it | \ik-ˈspli-sət \

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

explicitly adverb
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 … the cheerleaders in Washington wore dreads and leather pants and those burdensome-looking collections of buttons (those … skeins of explicit ideology), rather than letter sweaters and pleated skirts … — Jonathan Franzen, New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2001 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

But normally, the chief executive didn’t make an explicit campaign promise to discriminate based on religion, and characterize his first version of the ban as doing just that. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump v. Hawaii: the Supreme Court might make Trump’s travel ban permanent," 24 Apr. 2018 While Italy's title credentials were only made explicit in the knockout stages; West Germany proved themselves during the group stages. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 12 Weeks to Go - Italy & West Germany's 'Game of the Century'," 1 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile, the problems that have previously plagued websites would be inoculated its bare-bones construction: no forums, no private messages, no reviews, no membership fees, and no explicit photos or details of the services provided. Rick Paulas, Longreads, "Sex Workers vs. The Internet," 15 June 2018 Jeltema may have contacted up to 25 girls between the ages of 14 to 17 by sending them explicit photos of himself and requesting nude photos from them through Snapchat and Instagram, Smith said. Mayra Cruz, Houston Chronicle, "Former church minister arrested, accused of soliciting minors online," 14 June 2018 And former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner used the alias Carlos Danger for more nefarious reasons: to share explicit photos with women. Anna Orso, Philly.com, "Why would Bryan Colangelo use an anonymous Twitter account, anyway?," 30 May 2018 When Enrique spurns Rolando’s coercive offer to invest in his magazine, the editor publishes explicit photos of Enrique in a lurid orgy tableau. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "News You Can Lose Your Life Over," 25 May 2018 While there is no reason to believe Facebook would ever act so carelessly with data as sensitive as explicit photos of its users, there’s no telling how damaging the Cambridge Analytica scandal has been to the general perception of the company. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Facebook is expanding its unconventional approach to combating revenge porn," 23 May 2018 Hundreds of explicit photos of female U.S. service members have allegedly been shared on the internet via a Dropbox folder, Vice News reports. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Explicit Photos of Female Service Members Are Reportedly Being Shared in a Dropbox Folder," 10 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for explicit

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for explicit

The first known use of explicit was in 1549

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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 \

Kids Definition of explicit

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

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Comments on explicit

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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