Friday, August 22, 2008

Explicit and Implicit

Explicit and implicit are not synonymous, but are sometimes used as if they were.

Explicit expresses all that is meant, leaving nothing to implication or suggestion.

Implicit signifies that which is not plainly expressed but implied and can be inferred from something else.

It is not terribly common to misuse explicit because we have media-related catch phrases to help us infer meaning, such as "explicit lyrics warning label," the creation of which likely gives Tipper Gore a reason to wake up on the morning (well done, Mrs. Gore -- this may make up for the giant carbon footprint that is your husband).

Implicit, a slightly loftier term, as it implies the nature or essence of something, is often misused as "explicit" and I would like to suggest that people stop this.

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