I want to know the word which means any word which is not spoken/written explicitly but should be understood.

Example: Person A has misbehaved with his parents. So somebody close to person A, say his wife, said "Don't you have any education of decency that you should not misbehave with your parents, left in you?"

The italicized parts are not said explicitly because it is clear from the context and is unnecessary to mention.

  • A closely related concept, which is not what you asked for in the question, is common sense. Nov 19, 2014 at 2:23

3 Answers 3



Any communication contains explicit and implicit parts, the ones said/written and ones meant, but not passed literally.

In the example the speaker implies the subject should not misbehave with their parents.

This is pretty general but then it conveys the essence - to imply something is exactly the activity of conveying something without saying it, but the noun - Implication has broader meaning, so that won't quite do as the name of the activity.

There is also Innuendo but that's an entirely different way of conveying hidden meaning - the speech is about seemingly entirely unrelated subject and only by following the flow of metaphors you reach the hidden meaning - not what happens here.

And of course in the end there's the plain meaning. The speaker meant to stop the subject from misbehaving by parents. It doesn't exactly follow the "implicit" line - if you say "could you pass the salt please" you mean you want to have the salt passed to you, no hidden motives.

  • 1
    But implicit is a very general word and can be used anywhere. Isn't there any word related to in case of implicit conversation only?
    – Mistu4u
    Jan 26, 2013 at 9:02
  • 2
    @Mistu4u: "Implied" and "implicit" ARE commonly used terms in the way SF said. See this article, e.g., for more about implicit and explicit aspects of communication, and this forum question for more on implied subjects. Perhaps this answer might have been better had it been beefed up with a few such references, but it's still a very good answer, even if those words can be used in other contexts.
    – J.R.
    Jan 26, 2013 at 9:19

I'm in the U.S. When I was in school, we learned about "Understood Subjects" like the unspoken "You" in commands like "Come here". In ELU (another stackexchange site) I have seen "elided" used to mean words that are left out because they are understood. I also agree that "implied" is a good word for this, as suggested by SF.


Elided (This is where we get our word "ellipsis", the three dots, "...")



Tacit: def. understood without being openly expressed. I was reading Emma by Jane Austen when I read a word I didn't know, tacit, and I looked it up. Check dictionary.com if you want to, but that is where I got this definition of tacit. Implied is also a good fit, but I believe tacit is a notch closer.

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