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 The Russian leader did not renew his implicit threats of nuclear war. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 10 May 2022 Over time, delivering on these implicit promises and meeting these expectations becomes part of the culture of investigators, advocacy groups, and patients and families that work together on alleviating this problem. Anand Kumar, STAT, 9 May 2022 Most networks were designed using implicit trust, which allows users and devices to move freely around the network to access resources. Michael Xie, Forbes, 4 May 2022 While Trump’s tweets were widely condemned, the mere threat reflected an implicit hierarchy of heritage—an invisible scale that makes the difference between what’s listed, what’s visited, and what’s protected at all costs. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, 28 Apr. 2022 The implicit relationship of Amleth’s tale to Shakespeare’s play is in the absence of literary style. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 21 Apr. 2022 American culture, with our emphasis on individual achievement, contributed to my implicit assumptions about a hierarchy of human worth. Amy Julia Becker, Time, 16 Apr. 2022 Those who are willing to drop all pandemic safety measures tomorrow and simply live with the coronavirus are making an implicit decision that the current death rate is acceptable. Karen Kaplanscience And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2022 Governor Mike Pence was quick to back down in his support for the bill after companies began to issue their implicit threats. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, 4 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

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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Statistics for implicit

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Implicit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 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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