im·​plic·​it | \ im-ˈpli-sət How to pronounce implicit (audio) \

Definition of implicit

1a : capable of being understood from something else though unexpressed : implied an implicit assumption Still another problem for Middle America was how corporations … were allowed to breach the implicit social contract of the postwar era.— Kevin Phillips — compare explicit sense 1a
b : present but not consciously held or recognized implicit attitudes "Research shows that the majority of people have an implicit bias that associates science and technology with gender, so from a very young age, girls are not encouraged to pursue these careers," she [Caroline Simard] said.— Claire Cain Miller
2 : not lessened by doubt : absolute, complete There's an implicit trust between them. The implicit confidence that her destiny must be one of luxurious ease …— George Eliot
3a : involved in the nature or essence of something though not revealed, expressed, or developed : potential … a sculptor may see different figures implicit in a block of stone.— John Dewey … made a deepfake video to demonstrate the dangers implicit in the technology.— Andrea Bellemare
b of a mathematical function : defined by an expression in which the dependent variable and the one or more independent variables are not separated on opposite sides of an equation — compare explicit sense 4

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Other Words from implicit

implicitly adverb
implicitness noun

Implicit With a Preposition

Implicit is often followed by a preposition, and that preposition is usually in:

"American Horror Story" is a pretty grisly show. No one should be too surprised by that revelation — it’s sort of the promise implicit in its name, after all.
—Lacy Baugher, The Baltimore Sun, 3 Nov. 2016

On less frequent occasions, implicit may be followed by from, with, or within:

[S]uch a ruling seemed implicit from Fullam’s comments.
—Sean O’Sullivan, The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), 4 October 2006

Implicit with the discovery of oil was the hard truth that it wasn't going to last forever.
—Warren Jones et al., Alaska Dispatch News, 1 June 2016

Russia's president was explicit, calling on the West to pressure Kiev to deliver results. Implicit within that was a threat: that Moscow will not play along with the talks forever.
—Sarah Rainsford, BBC News, 14 Aug. 2016

The black dead ocean looked like a mirror of the night; it was cold, implicit with dread and death…
—Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead, 1948

Examples of implicit in a Sentence

This assumption, implicit in innumerable statements by President Reagan … dictates most of our current political and military programs. — Henry Steele Commager, Atlantic, March 1982 … in the best stories the end is implicit from the beginning. — Joan Aiken, The Writer, May 1968 The goodness and strength implicit within Pen unfold but slowly. — John DeBruyn, LIT, Spring 1966 The movies borrowed from other arts on the way to finding methods implicit in their medium. — Bernard DeVoto, The World of Fiction, 1950 There is a sense of moral duty implicit in her writings. I have implicit trust in her honesty.
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Recent Examples on the Web Ralph Izzo, head of PSEG, said a nationwide carbon price would help avoid disparities at the state level, noting New Jersey’s climate policies set implicit carbon prices that range from $400 per ton to $95 per ton. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Top House Republican blasts Trump’s ‘awful’ offshore drilling ban," 10 Sep. 2020 The implicit promise that there would be less politics at work, and across social-media feeds. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "How They Lost," 4 Sep. 2020 Others see the response to Rittenhouse as a chilling glorification of vigilante violence and an implicit confirmation of racial biases in policing. Casey Tolan, CNN, "A Black man shot in the back, a teenage shooting suspect, a city in flames: The week that shook Kenosha and the country," 4 Sep. 2020 Other new Facebook election policies include limiting the volume of messages that can be sent through its Messenger platform and expanding rules against voter suppression to cover implicit attempts at misleading users about voting procedures. Jeff Horwitz, WSJ, "Facebook to Limit Political Ads Week Before Election, Label Premature Calls," 3 Sep. 2020 Anderson draws an implicit distinction between those CIA covert actions that ended in innocent blood (bad!) and those that were just dirty tricks or psy-ops (part of the game). Greg Barnhisel, The New Republic, "The Making of the “Good CIA”," 3 Sep. 2020 The distinction between a post that aims to delegitimize the poll and one that includes implicit misinformation about voting is not entirely clear, which may prove problematic given the different enforcement mechanisms for each. Kurt Wagner,, "Facebook to Block New Political Ads a Week Before Election Day," 1 Sep. 2020 But while implicit bias trainings are multiplying, few rigorous evaluations of these programs exist. Tiffany L. Green, Scientific American, "The Problem with Implicit Bias Training," 28 Aug. 2020 But underneath its explicit message of caring concern, there’s a clear implicit judgment. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "We Have to Stop Thinking of Being ‘Healthy’ as Being Morally Better," 7 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'implicit.' 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 implicit

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for implicit

Latin implicitus, past participle of implicare — see implicate

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Time Traveler for implicit

Time Traveler

The first known use of implicit was in 1613

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Statistics for implicit

Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Implicit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for implicit


How to pronounce implicit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of implicit

: understood though not clearly or directly stated
: not affected by doubt


im·​plic·​it | \ im-ˈpli-sət How to pronounce implicit (audio) \

Kids Definition of implicit

1 : understood though not put clearly into words an implicit warning
2 : not affected by doubt : absolute He had my implicit trust.

Other Words from implicit

implicitly adverb


im·​plic·​it | \ im-ˈpli-sət How to pronounce implicit (audio) \

Legal Definition of implicit

: capable of being recognized though unexpressed : implied

Other Words from implicit

implicitly adverb

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