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 implicit racism — see also implicit bias
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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web But there’s an implicit (and sometimes explicit) promise that these institutions will provide a safe and supportive environment for students to matriculate. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 30 July 2022 In other words, these are implicit, subconscious and innate biases. Avani Desai, Forbes, 13 June 2022 On a personal level, implicit (or unconscious) bias from health care providers can also play a role. Abigail Libers, SELF, 25 May 2022 But Theetge rejected that recommendation, saying in a separate memo that Valentino had been trained in recent years on nondiscrimination, implicit bias and fair and impartial policing. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 1 Sep. 2022 The stakes couldn’t be higher where lies or misinformation or wrong assumptions or implicit bias or all of those things together work to literally take away people’s lives and freedoms. San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Aug. 2022 That accusation was challenged Thursday when the school district said the training session in question was about the subject of implicit bias and did not indicate White people are inherently racist. Aya Elamroussi And Andy Rose, CNN, 27 Aug. 2022 Much of it is broadly focused on topics like implicit bias, ableism, gender discrimination, and heterosexism, to name a few topics. Shaun Harper, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 The reasons are complex and likely include some outright sexism and a whole lot of implicit bias. Naomi Oreskes, Scientific American, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of implicit

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for implicit

borrowed from French & Medieval Latin; French implicite, going back to Middle French, "complicated, tangled," borrowed from Medieval Latin implicitus "involved, complicated, implied," going back to Latin, "involved, intricate," variant past participle of implicāre "to fold about itself, entwine, involve" — more at implicate

Note: The Latin verb implicāre has, along with other derivatives of -plicāre, two possible past participles; see note at explicit.

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Time Traveler for implicit

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The first known use of implicit was in 1613

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Dictionary Entries Near implicit



implicit bias

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Last Updated

23 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Implicit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for implicit


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

More from Merriam-Webster on implicit

Nglish: Translation of implicit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of implicit for Arabic Speakers


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