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

Money confers an implicit value on things in a way that’s deceptive and very often wrong. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "The Price of Everything,," 18 Oct. 2018 This spring the Washington state Supreme Court adopted a rule aimed at eliminating racial bias, both deliberate and implicit, in all jury trials in the state, both civil and criminal. Tyrone Beason / Columnist, The Seattle Times, "Jury duty taught me that for justice to be blind, courtrooms should look like you and me," 11 Sep. 2018 Under the partnership, the NAACP will assist Airbnb in recruiting more black users, a move both groups hope will bring more diversity to the platform and weed out instances of discrimination — whether explicit or implicit. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "To fight discrimination, Airbnb wants more black Miami residents to rent their homes | Miami Herald," 15 May 2018 In Weingrod’s wood works that is always implicit — in the tree right in front of us. Cate Mcquaid,, "Seeing the heavens in a cut of wood," 11 July 2018 But the question was implicit in what the investment analysts did ask, and in their tone of voice, and even in the defensive replies offered by Spiegel, CFO Andrew Vollero, and Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan. Michael Hiltzik,, "Snap Inc. again shows why it should not have become a public company," 2 May 2018 About 8,000 Starbucks stores will close Tuesday afternoon so employees can take implicit bias training, the company said. Molly Sullivan, sacbee, "Need that afternoon caffeine fix? Well, Starbucks is closed Tuesday for implicit bias training, company says," 29 May 2018 But this misperception — that everyone who should or will undergo training is a racist — doesn’t truly address the nature of implicit bias training. Lincoln Anthony Blades, Teen Vogue, "Implicit Bias Training: What It Is and How It Works," 29 May 2018 Some, including Facebook and Google, have included implicit bias training. Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times, "Why Starbucks’s Bias Training, Despite Skepticism, Is an Important Start," 28 May 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

14 Nov 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

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by force of circumstances

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