1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

Difference between Explicit and Implicit

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Adam Cruge, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Adam Cruge Senior Member

    India & Bengali
    From the dictionary entry I learned that "Explicit" means "something that is easily understood or told directly and clearly" whereas "Implicit" means "something that is not expressed clearly, thus not clearly understood".

    Up to this it is clear to me. But the following part is generating concussion...
    Then another entry in dictionary against "implicit" says that it means "complete and not doubted" and it has an example "She had the implicit trust of her staff."
    But it is almost similar in meaning to "explicit" and it also contrasting with "something that is not expressed clearly, thus not clearly understood". what is the difference then ?

    Please help...thank you in advance...
     
  2. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    Implicit has a meaning that is opposite of explicit, as you say. This is what we expect from their prefixes; im- for 'inside', ex- for 'outside'.

    The other meaning of implicit is not matched by an opposed meaning of explicit. However, it is related etymologically to the meaning of implicit as "not expressed, understood without being spoken". Implicit derives from a Latin word meaning "folded in, closely connected, joined". If something is "folded in" it is inside, not on the surface: this sense of implicit relates to the meaning that is opposite explicit. On the other hand, if "trust" is "folded into" the person who feels trust, it is part of that person. Thus your implicit trust in someone else is unquestioning trust because it is part of you.

    A word's history doesn't tell us what it means today. Some words come to mean the opposite of what they once did. However, this etymology helps me relate the two meanings of implicit, as a helpful story might.

    I hope you found this useful.
     

Share This Page