im·plic·it | \ im-ˈpli-sət \

Definition of implicit 

1a : 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 sense 4

2 : being without doubt or reserve : unquestioning an implicit trust

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Other words from implicit

implicitly adverb
implicitness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for implicit


possible, potential


actual, existent, factual, real

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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

This threatens the implicit contract between generations. The Economist, "The welfare state needs updating," 12 July 2018 There are some question marks for conservatives, particularly an ObamaCare ruling that signaled his implicit support of the law. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court," 9 July 2018 All this was, at least some optimists hope, an implicit reassurance to NATO’s European partners that Mr Trump was not about to make a deal over their heads with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Economist, "The American president lambasts his allies," 12 July 2018 The Areopagitica paid implicit homage to the printing press and explicit homage to everything that rolled off it. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Death of the Public Square," 6 July 2018 This work fulfills the implicit promise of the Woodmere Annual — to tell us something about here and something about now. Thomas Hine,, "Philly artists' big, urgent show at Woodmere looks out from the rowhouse to the world," 21 June 2018 The implicit argument here is that if Trump doesn’t mirror Nazi Germany in every detail, there is no analogy to be made. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "How much credit should we give Trump for not annexing Austria?," 20 June 2018 Slyly, in an implicit critique of Trump’s America, the movie blends the fantastical with a world lined with border security guards and considerable obstacles. Michael Phillips,, "Disney's 'Moana' screened for migrant kids detained at border. Thanks for rubbing it in, America.," 19 June 2018 Her implicit argument is that any suggestion of presidential wrongdoing in 2016 is invalid since there is institutional bias against Trump. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Report on FBI brings the 2016 campaign roaring back," 15 June 2018

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

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for implicit

Latin implicitus, past participle of implicare — see implicate

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Statistics for implicit

Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for implicit

The first known use of implicit was in 1599

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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


im·plic·it | \ im-ˈpli-sət \

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 \

Legal Definition of implicit 

: capable of being recognized though unexpressed : implied

Other words from implicit

implicitly adverb

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Comments on implicit

What made you want to look up implicit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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