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

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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 Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, is comprised of the thoughts, attitudes, or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions, shaping our interactions with other people both personally and professionally. Ellevate, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 Faculty and staff members at these events have become more vocal about issues like implicit bias in judging and cultural appropriation in competition choreography. New York Times, 26 Aug. 2021 Every year, the school now does several school-wide activities that are mandatory for students and staff that educate about things like how to be an ally to people of other groups and what is implicit bias. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Aug. 2021 The phrase has become conservative shorthand for any kind of diversity or equity training whatsoever, whether a lesson intended to help students dissect their privilege or a teacher seminar on implicit bias. Jake Bittle, The New Republic, 13 Aug. 2021 In a study on implicit-bias awareness training in the New York Police Department, for example, researchers found no evidence that officer behavior actually changed. Malaika Jabali, Essence, 11 Aug. 2021 Getting vaccinated against preventable diseases is one way to ensure that all people, especially BIPOC, avoid health care encounters in which implicit and explicit bias lead to worse health outcomes. Tina Sacks, CNN, 17 July 2021 That’s partly because narratives depend a lot of implicit and explicit theories of causation. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 30 Mar. 2021 Both have taught us a great deal about implicit and explicit bias in America, and especially in Minnesota. Star Tribune, 23 Oct. 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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Dictionary Entries Near implicit



implicit bias

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Last Updated

23 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Implicit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for implicit



English Language Learners Definition of implicit

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


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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