adjective im·plic·it \ im-ˈpli-sət \
|Updated on: 11 Jul 2018

Definition of implicit

1 a : capable of being understood from something else though unexpressed : implied
  • an implicit assumption
b : 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
c 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 4
2 : being without doubt or reserve : unquestioning
  • an implicit trust





Examples of implicit in a Sentence

  1. This assumption, implicit in innumerable statements by President Reagan … dictates most of our current political and military programs. —Henry Steele CommagerAtlanticMarch 1982
  2. … in the best stories the end is implicit from the beginning. —Joan AikenThe WriterMay 1968
  3. The goodness and strength implicit within Pen unfold but slowly. —John DeBruynLITSpring 1966
  4. The movies borrowed from other arts on the way to finding methods implicit in their medium. —Bernard DeVotoThe World of Fiction1950
  5. There is a sense of moral duty implicit in her writings.

  6. I have implicit trust in her honesty.

Recent Examples of implicit from the Web

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.

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

Origin and Etymology of implicit

Latin implicitus, past participle of implicare — see implicate

IMPLICIT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of implicit for English Language Learners

  • : understood though not clearly or directly stated

  • : not affected by doubt

IMPLICIT Defined for Kids


adjective im·plic·it \ im-ˈpli-sət \

Definition of implicit for Students

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



Law Dictionary


adjective im·plic·it \ im-ˈpli-sət \

legal Definition of implicit

: capable of being recognized though unexpressed : implied



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to beat or defeat soundly

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