9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 = 3 x + 4.
Compare implicit (def 4).
Origin of explicit
1605-15; < Latin explicitus unfolded, set forth, variant past participle of explicāre. See explicate
Related forms
explicitly, adverb
explicitness, noun
overexplicit, adjective
quasi-explicit, adjective
quasi-explicitly, adverb
superexplicit, adjective
superexplicitly, adverb
unexplicit, adjective
unexplicitly, adverb
Can be confused
explicit, implicit, implied.
1. express, definite, precise, exact, unambiguous. 3. open, forthright, unabashed.
1. indefinite, ambiguous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for explicit
  • Anne reported that she was fired for sending explicit photos from work.
  • It is thus better to have the government role explicit and fully transparent rather than implicit and obscured.
  • We are conscious of our explicit knowledge, and we can easily communicate it .
  • It has no explicit profanity, but the puns, double entendres and clever wordplay are often far more risqué than we can share here.
  • Maybe I haven't been explicit enough regarding my hopes and desires.
  • Articulating learning outcomes is, as someone suggested, beneficial because it makes the implicit explicit.
  • The ground rules should be as explicit as possible so as to minimize needless wrangling.
  • Her songs, some of which contain explicit lesbian references, have an unabashedly sentimental ring.
  • Occasionally, though, his disdain becomes too explicit.
  • Picasso analysed, deconstructed, digested and reinvented the great works of others in an explicit and systematic way.
British Dictionary definitions for explicit


precisely and clearly expressed, leaving nothing to implication; fully stated: explicit instructions
graphically detailed, leaving little to the imagination: sexually 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=x4 + x + z Compare implicit (sense 4)
Derived Forms
explicitly, adverb
explicitness, noun
Word Origin
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
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
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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
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