I have encountered this problems quite often and usually got stuck trying to nail down what I want to say. English is not my native language so I wonder if any native speakers could explain this to me.

An example for this is when I say "I think this author is female because she says..." When I assume the author is female through details of the provided text, I have [the word that I am looking for that can substitute "goes without being said"] stereotyped those details as restrictive female or male.

Another example is when person A uses their hands to pick up food and person B sees that. B then asks A why. A says "I don't know. I think it is [the word]. People of my country do that without explanation."

  • 3
    I think you're looking for "implicitly" for your first example. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work for your second example. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 12:26
  • 1
    @PeterShor: actually, the second definition given in oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/implicit fits the second example quite well.
    – user11752
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 13:17
  • 3
    At least one answer is obvious...
    – Vincent
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 18:13
  • 3
    'Apodeictic' means 'self-evidently true'. 'Axiomatic' means 'self-evident' or 'unquestionable'. But the second is very formal, the first rarefied. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 19:23
  • 3
    You'd probably need to rephrase your sentences to make it fit, but I'm surprised nobody has yet suggested tacit.
    – 4444
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 19:36

19 Answers 19


I suggest the word implicit (implicitly, in the first example in the question):

  1. Suggested though not directly expressed: comments seen as implicit criticism of the policies


  1. (implicit in) Always to be found in; essentially connected with: the values implicit in the school ethos
  • Thank you very much! I knew this word but never thought of it this way!
    – ygnim
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 7:55

I think there is a bit of a disconnect between the question and the examples given. That being said I think there are several words that can be used depending on context.

One possibility is the word obvious with emphasis on the second definition.


1 : easy to see or notice

2 : easy for the mind to understand or recognize

I think this can be used somewhat interchangeably with the phrase "goes without saying/being said".

Ex: After seeing the wreckage it goes without saying that the ship ran aground.

Ex: After seeing the wreckage it was obvious that the ship ran aground.

Also take a look at this post on Grammarist.

Goes without saying

It’s easy to be hard on goes without saying—if something goes without saying, why say it?—but the phrase sometimes works well as a wordy way of saying obviously, and it can be useful for emphasis or transition.

Also, as pointed out by Mark the word implicit can be used in the examples given by the OP and also in many cases interchangeably with "it goes without saying/being said". I would emphasize the first definition since it captures the idea of something being known without being expressed.


adjective im·plic·it \im-ˈpli-sət\ 1 : understood though not clearly or directly stated

  • 4
    +1, for obvious. However, apparent- leaves the door open for a little ambiguity.
    – Misti
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 13:57
  • I have edited to reference other answers for alternatives instead of using the apparent/unambiguous examples. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 15:35

I would say "self-evidently" works well in both cases. Similar to "obvious" and related synonyms, but with the added nuance of implying the obviousness requires no external or a priori knowledge of the subject at hand.

  • Perhaps "evident" would be cleaner. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 15:39
  • To my eye/ear, "evidently" in that context reads less like "obviously" and related words, and more like "apparently," with the connotation of "as it turns out." Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 17:30

"Evidently" is an alternative.

evidently adverb used for saying that something is obvious

  • 4
    Perhaps self-evident woudl better capture the sense.
    – choster
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 14:32
  • +1, evident was my first choice, then "conspicuous" hit my senses.
    – Misti
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:02

Tacit is also an interesting and somewhat uncommon choice:

tac·it ˈtasət/


  1. understood or implied without being stated.

Conspicuous - obvious to the eye or mind

Conspicuous can mean very obvious to the eye (like something that is conspicuous from a distance). If you are doing something wrong, it's wise not to be conspicuous about it!



Based on your sentences, I am not sure that your description of the word matches what you are trying to say. I think maybe you want a word for a behavior that is a cultural or social norm that is done without really thinking about it. It is done automatically. It is habitual.

For the first sentence I would use unknowingly, unconsciously, subconsciously, or inadvertently. A vote for implicitly too if the focus on society versus the individual's being unaware they are doing it. For the second sentence I would state it as follows: It is done subconsciously, unconsciously, out of habit, or automatically.

I am a sociologist, but not a specialist in social interaction and culture. If you find a sociology question site, there may be an expert who can give you more specific terminology on unintentionally producing and reproducing cultural norms, and perhaps, there is a specific word that refers to the events in your sentences. Being a former instructor, I don't think using multiple words to describe the behavior is a real problem. In this case, I might use subconscious social or cultural norm, probably not in your sentences, but I think this is the behavior to which you are referring.

Sorry to be long-winded, hope this helps or points you onward.


In your second example:

Another example is when person A uses hands to pick up foods and person B sees that. B then asks A why. A says that "I don't know. I think it is [the word]. People of my country do that without explanation."

customary or the done thing might be good substitutions for [the word]. I don't think you will find a single word that will work in both of your examples.

  • 3
    I'd say 'customary' is the best fit for OP's second example. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 19:20

The phrase "goes without being said" means that most people know and agree with what is being said.


It goes without being said that all cats love tuna.

Everyone knows that all cats lover tuna.

Synonyms for this would include:

  • It's implied
  • It's well known
  • It's obvious
  • It's well understood

If what is being said really is well understood and agreed upon by people, it should be possible and accurate to say the sentence without the idiom at all. For example:

It goes without saying that war is violent.

Everyone knows that war is violent.

War is violent.

  • Just to nitpick: "X is true" and "Everyone knows that X is true" are not the same thing. There are lots of things that are true but that many people don't know. "Minsk is the capital of Belarus." A true statement. But I'm quite sure that there are many people in the world who do not know this.
    – Jay
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 13:41
  • @Jay it goes without being said that what you are saying is true. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Like any instance of an idiom, it would need to be evaluated to see if it means something more. Another example would be when this expression is used for a widely held believe that isn't true or is half true (e.g. "Everyone knows that Pluto is the 9th planet in the Solar System") Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 17:17
  • Sure. There are lots of things that "everyone knows" that ain't so. We laugh at dumb things people believed hundreds of years ago. I'm sure that hundreds of years from now people will be laughing at the crazy things that all those dumb 21st century people believed.
    – Jay
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 18:54

Depending on just how you mean it, words that occur to me are "obvious" and "assumed".

"Obvious" indicates that a statement is true, and that almost everyone quickly recognizes that it is true. "Everyone knows that water is wet." "It is obvious that water is wet."

"Assumed" indicates that most people believe that a statement is true, but can be used whether the speaker thinks it is true or not. "People assume that I like whiskey just because I'm Irish." Maybe you do and maybe you don't, but everyone thinks that.

You could also say "it's common knowledge that ...", but that's another phrase and not one word.



of course; as would be expected; needless to say.

If you prefix something with "naturally" then you are implying that it would have been expected.

"Natural" also works in your second example, as eating certain foods with your hands may seem natural to some people and not others.

  • 1
    I am not a native speaker of English, but I think naturally is a suitable word in that context as it means of course; as would be expected; needless to say as per your link. +1
    – user109460
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:07

If something "goes without being said" it's given.

  • 1
    Not a bad answer, but the distribution of this sense of 'given' is, I think, rather idiosyncratic. 'It's [a] given that ...' and 'We can take it as given that ...' probably account for a high percentage of its occurrences. Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 19:18

manifestly adverb.

In a way that is clear or obvious to the eye or mind

natch adverb, informal.

Naturally; as may be expected


One of the first words that came to mind was implicit, but after reading the examples, I think I would use understandably and normal, or commonplace, for the first and second examples, respectively.


It seems if it goes without saying, then it is "understood," depending on the exact phrasing.


Plus one for "obviously" but depending on the context, necessarily would sometimes work as well.


I would use ipso facto:

directly translated as "by the fact itself,"[1] which means that a certain phenomenon is a direct consequence, a resultant effect, of the action in question


I propose another alternative: axiomatic:

Of the nature of an axiom or admitted first principle; self-evident; indisputably true. (OED)

Also similar but not exactly correct: tautological:

Of an argument or definition: merely restating in different words the very thing which is to be explained, shown, or defined (OED)


what about

to state the obvious


stating the obvious

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.