“Implicitly” Should Be “Explicitly”

Many people use the term “implicitly” to convey that there are no doubts, that something is unquestioningly true. Furthermore, this use of the term is actually an accepted definition to be found in dictionaries.

Unfortunately it is incorrect.

Implicitly is an adverb form of implicit. Implicit is an adjective meaning that something is implied, that it is understood without specifically being spelled out. If something is not specifically spelled out, if it is implied—and therefore inferred—then there is—by definition—doubt and question.

Explicitly on the other hand is by definition fully explained and expressed. To quote a couple of dictionary passages: “leaving nothing implied”, “readily observable”. The term “explicitly” properly entails the unquestioning, doubtless quality that the term “implicitly” is supposed to convey.

We should use the term EXPLICITLY in place of IMPLICITLY when we want to mean no doubt.