[ ik-splis-it ]
/ ɪkˈsplɪs ɪt /


fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied; unequivocal: explicit instructions; an explicit act of violence; explicit language.
clearly developed or formulated: explicit knowledge; explicit belief.
definite and unreserved in expression; outspoken: He was quite explicit as to what he expected us to do for him.
described or shown in realistic detail: explicit sexual scenes.
having sexual acts or nudity clearly depicted: explicit movies; explicit books.
Mathematics. (of a function) having the dependent variable expressed directly in terms of the independent variables, as y = 3x + 4.Compare implicit(def 4).

Nearby words

  1. explicate,
  2. explication,
  3. explication de texte,
  4. explicative,
  5. explicatory,
  6. explicit function,
  7. explicitly,
  8. explode,
  9. exploded view,
  10. explodent

Origin of explicit

1605–15; < Latin explicitus unfolded, set forth, variant past participle of explicāre. See explicate

Related forms
Can be confusedexplicit implicit implied

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for explicit

British Dictionary definitions for explicit


/ (ɪkˈsplɪsɪt) /


precisely and clearly expressed, leaving nothing to implication; fully statedexplicit instructions
graphically detailed, leaving little to the imaginationsexually explicit scenes
openly expressed without reservations; unreserved
maths (of a function) having an equation of the form y=f (x), in which y is expressed directly in terms of x, as in y=x 4 + x + zCompare implicit (def. 4)
Derived Formsexplicitly, adverbexplicitness, noun

Word Origin for explicit

C17: from Latin explicitus unfolded, from explicāre; see explicate

the end; an indication, used esp by medieval scribes, of the end of a book, part of a manuscript, etc

Word Origin for explicit

Late Latin, probably short for explicitus est liber the book is unfolded (or complete); shortened by analogy with incipit

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for explicit



c.1600, from French explicite, from Latin explicitus "unobstructed," variant past participle of explicare "unfold, unravel, explain," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + plicare "to fold" (see ply (v.1)).

"Explicitus" was written at the end of medieval books, originally short for explicitus est liber "the book is unrolled." As a euphemism for "pornographic" it dates from 1971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper