I need a word with this definition:

"Something said or written that is so implied or self-evident that making the statement is completely unnecessary."

The closest word I can come up with is truism.

  • 1
    Could you please give an example sentence where you would like to use it? i.e. "He just always repeats ...."
    – Thinkeye
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 8:08
  • 5
    As evidenced from the answers, and as is ubiquitous in English, context is going to be very important here. While the given answers are all generally valid, the answerers here are imagining each a different type of context for the words they've suggested. The ones which will apply to your use case will depend heavily upon what, precisely, that is.
    – J...
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 16:17
  • ..*Derivative*. Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 16:35

12 Answers 12


You should check implicit:

understood though not clearly or directly stated

Common synonyms I saw in use are tacit and unspoken. They are listed along with the definition.

  • OTOH, something logically implicit may not be at all obvious. "capable of being understood from something else though unexpressed" -MW, like a simpler mathematical proof discovered long after a lengthy one.
    – agc
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 1:44

Two words: 'a given'. Otherwise, 'self-evident' or 'obvious'.

For a younger audience: 'Duh'.

  • 'self-evident' is included in the question, and hence is clearly not an appropriate answer.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 10:08
  • It is not self-evident that 'self-evident' is an appropriate adjective for the answer. 'Implied', for example, would not be satisfactory because it lacks strength.
    – grateful
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 10:24

You may be looking for the word "superfluous". From Merriam Webster

a : exceeding what is sufficient or necessary : extra
b : not needed : unnecessary


I would suggest redundant.

As shown below, the definitions in both British & American English refer to using superfluous words.

redundant (Cambridge Dictionary)

British English:
not needed
(especially of a word, phrase, etc.) unnecessary because it is more than is needed:
In the sentence "She is a single unmarried woman", the word "unmarried" is redundant.

American English:
more than what is usual or necessary, esp. using extra words that mean the same thing:
My English teacher was merciless if what we wrote was abstract, sentimental, or redundant.

Although the example sentences above primarily relate to using more words that necessary, the simple definition of redundant is not needed. It can therefore equally be used to refer to an entire sentence or statement; for example:

That statement is redundant.

  • 3
    Redundant is more about using (more) words than needed to express the sentiment; not about stating something that's already understood/known. As also illustrated in your linked example with the unmarried - single reference. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 10:41
  • @AllanS.Hansen See amended answer.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 10:54
  • How does "She is a single unmarried woman" differ from "She is a single widowed woman" or "She is a single divorced woman". The point here being that single is only borderline redundant here, and I would consider the AE example to be a use of the word without much context. Some American examples: absolutely phenomenal, completely unanimous, he\she is a person who, personal opinion, I could go on. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 13:01
  • @USER_8675309 They were the dictionary's examples - not mine. I've merely put forward a suggested word & quoted its definition & example usage. I'm not saying they're the best examples - but I prefer to use properly substantiated examples where I can.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 14:21
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    I find it ironic that a dictionary contains two definitions of "redundant" that are essentially identical.
    – Jules
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 19:41


as stated in Wikipedia.

obvious and implicit are adjectives describing this.

tautology is sometimes wrongly used to describe this, as it means a statement that is true due to its form (a statement which is true independent from its interpretation).

redundant sounds quite technical, usually referring to the non-informative content of an information.



obviously true

taken for granted : self-evident

  • 3
    I seriously wonder why I bother to contribute to this site. I linked to the dictionary even but nothing is ever good enough around here.
    – shawnt00
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 3:39
  • That comment was prompted by a downvote in case anybody wondered.
    – shawnt00
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 13:53
  • There's an unwanted connotation of condescension in axiomatic: we're probably all familiar with famous proofs and methods without knowing the proofs themselves -- a boy might be able to use the Pythagorean Theorem to estimate the size of a ladder needed to paint a 3rd floor window, without being able to prove it, i.e. he knows the proposition, not the axioms which precede it. (Historically this is how a lot of Mathematics evolved: tradesmen and workers noticed various useful truths of measurement, which were later abstracted into the briefest possible axioms by leisurely scholars.)
    – agc
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 2:00
  • @shawnt00, axiomatic means taken for granted and self-evident, but not obviously true - so it is not what the OP is looking for. Within a given theory, an axiom is a non-tautological statement which is supposed to be true. (Theological Sciences call it a dogma). Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 6:30
  • @rexkogitans As a mathematician myself I know what an axiom is. And while I prefer not to use the word in this sense, other people do use it more loosely. You can take that up with them and Merriam-Webster I suppose.
    – shawnt00
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 1:36

"Something said or written that is so implied or self-evident that making the statement is completely unnecessary" that would be an obvious statement.


I would suggest "tautology," although I admit it has some of the same problems as "redundant." Both have connotations of repetition that are missing in the poster's definition. "Superfluous" might be better, but its domain is not limited primarily to speech.

Another answer dismissed "tautology" as a possible answer to this question by arguing that the word's common meaning of redundancy is actually incorrect, and that the only correct definition of "tautology" is its technical definition in formal logic ("a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form," to quote from the New Oxford American Dictionary -- a statement that by virtue of its logical structure is true in every possible state description within a given logical theory, e.g. "p or not p" in a binary logical system in which all statements are either true or false). But the more common definitions of "tautology" are listed alongside the formal logical definition of tautology in most dictionaries. To use "tautology" to mean a redundant phrase is only incorrect when a listener or writer would reasonably expect the word's technical definition to be employed. Many technical terms have vastly different lay meanings, but this generally does not make the lay meanings incorrect.


In the technical discussions, we say:

"That's implied."

adjective: implied

suggested but not directly expressed; implicit.

'stating the obvious or something that does not need to be explicitly stated.'


A Latin loan phrase adopted in English usage:

sine qua non

Sine qua non (/ˌsaɪni kweɪ ˈnɒn/; Latin: [ˈsine kwaː ˈnoːn])1 or condicio sine qua non (plural: condiciones sine quibus non) is an indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient. It was originally a Latin legal term for "[a condition] without which it could not be", or "but for..." or "without which [there is] nothing".

As a Latin term, it occurs in the work of Boethius, and originated in Aristotelian expressions.1 In recent times, it has passed from a merely legal usage to a more general usage in many languages, including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, etc.


  • 2
    I don't think this has the right meaning. From what I understand, a "sine qua non" is something that is indispensable, but the question asks for a word to describe statements that are unnecessary.
    – herisson
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 20:29
  • 1
    @sumelic: Yeah, no... formally that's true, but the more common hyperbolic English usage is "something that goes without saying, as if it were a basic and necessary prerequisite", rather than an actual logical necessity. Some dictionary sample usages show this, yet the definition writers haven't much noticed, i.e.: A perfect cake is the since qua non of a birthday party... (obviously one could stage a birthday party without any cake, e.g. by substituting some other well-decorated dessert).
    – agc
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 7:19

Does Common knowledge satisfy the idea? I.e., "knowledge that is known by everyone or nearly everyone, usually with reference to the community in which the term is used."

Def. from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_knowledge

  • Please quote from what you link to in your answer. Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 10:23

understatement fits the bill. For example:

Your car rolls off cliff into ocean...

Your friend: "At least you'll save on the car wash."

You: "That's an understatement."

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