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 … 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 There’s also no explicit law against providing support to domestic terrorist organizations — unlike groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations. Arluther Lee, ajc, "Trump to label Antifa a terrorist organization," 1 June 2020 Regulations first imposed in the US in the 1970s essentially required case-by-case examination and approval of any nuclear space project from multiple government agencies and explicit approval from the president. Popular Science, "The next era of space travel should include nuclear-powered rockets," 27 May 2020 In 2008, the Fed gained explicit authority from Congress to pay commercial banks interest on reserve balances deposited at the central bank. Simon Kennedy, Bloomberg.com, "Why the U.S. Has Shunned Negative Interest Rates," 24 May 2020 That said, here are two explicit clarifications, without which the problem loses meaning. Quanta Magazine, "Why Our Perpetual Energy Puzzle Fails," 22 May 2020 While that’s natural human behavior, issues can arise when a group’s norms are implicit rather than explicit; relying on tribal lore to keep your group healthy is a great way to make things dysfunctional. Cate Huston, Quartz at Work, "Remote-team managers can learn a lot from open-source communities," 19 May 2020 For example, the legislation could include explicit emissions-reduction targets over 10 and 20 years and a process for adjusting the tax rates automatically if the country is not on track to hit those targets. Gilbert E. Metcalf, Scientific American, "How to Set a Price on Carbon Pollution," 19 May 2020 The spike in infections in recent weeks may delay plans to reopen Southeast Asia’s largest economy as early as next month as an overwhelmed healthcare system fails to ramp up testing of those with even explicit Covid-19 symptoms. Arys Aditya, Bloomberg.com, "Indonesia Rules Out Easing Lockdowns Soon as New Cases Spike," 18 May 2020 Since the 2009-10 case, San Jose State has changed its sports medicine policies to bar the type of touching Shaw allegedly did without explicit consent and the presence of a chaperone. USA Today, "San Jose State reinvestigates claims athletic trainer inappropriately touched swimmers," 17 Apr. 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

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Explicit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/explicit. Accessed 5 Jun. 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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