Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Explicit or Implicit?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between explicit and implicit?

Explicit means direct or clearly expressed.

Implicit means implied or expressed indirectly.

Explicit and Implicit

Occasionally, there is confusion over the words explicit and implicit. They sound similar, but their meanings are very different.

Explicit

The adjective explicit means precisely and clearly expressed.

Examples:
  • The law was explicit in whose tax rates were to be raised.
  • Marathon runners set explicit goals.

Implicit

The adjective implicit means implied or suggested.

Examples:
  • There is always an implicit threat of violence.
  • The attention on young middle class protestors was far less direct but often implicit.
Top Tip

A Way to Remember Implicit

Let the i in implicit remind you of indirect or implied.

Interactive Test