I am looking for an antonym of implication that is related in the same way that implied and explicit are related, where explicit means "expressed". This antonym should also fit the following analogy:

Imply is to state as implication is to _____.


Alice: "Your argument/statement implies X."

Bob: "But what I explicitly stated contradicts your perceived implication!"

I think it would be very nice to use a word that would mean the exact opposite of implication to emphasize how incorrect a perceived implication is when it contradicts what someone had plainly said or written.

Bob could say, "But my statement/explanation/argument contradicts your perceived implication," which gets the point across, but IMO doesn't convey the full gravity of Alice's blunder that an antonym of implication would. Bob wants to succinctly emphasize that what was plainly stated, when taken at face value, contradicts what Alice thought was implied.

M-W defines explicate as "to give a detailed explanation of." Does that mean that explication is a "detailed explanation"? If so, explication would function well if Bob had indeed provided a detailed explanation or argument. However, if Bob had simply offered a statement or two, I don't think explication would work well.

In short, Bob should say: "My __ contradicts your perceived implication."

  • 2
    If there was a need for such a word, there would be one, 'but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic', as Tweedldee said. Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 19:13
  • 3
    'explication' is just a fancy version of 'explanation'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 19:29
  • @&: I'm having trouble understanding your "need" - could you perhaps explain how Bob would use this word in a sentence, if it existed? Feel free to use a ________ (blank).
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 19:33
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    Bob could quite happily respond with "But my explication contradicts your perceived implication!" (the act of making clear or removing obscurity from the meaning of a word or symbol or expression etc.). I think this is a Not Constructive peeve. Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 20:56
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    An explicit implication. That's a new one, @Lucas
    – ampersand
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 21:46

8 Answers 8


Declaration: a formal or explicit statement or announcement

In short, Bob should say: "My declaration contradicts your perceived implication."

  • Thanks, Fuhrmanator. I think this most captures the concept I am trying to convey, which is the "expressed" nature of a statement. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/declaration demonstrates this in its definition of declaration.
    – ampersand
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 21:15
  • Edited accordingly, @ampersand Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 21:24

I think your expression "explicitly stated" is a bit redundant, and I'd use statement as the word you want.

I don't think one can state something implicitly...

  • I agree - statement, declaration, exposition, pronouncement, attestation, assertion are words that fit OP's context. Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 20:51
  • @SF, it is redundant to make a point. See the definition of declaration here: oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/declaration. I think 'statement' is close, but see my question for my issues with it.
    – ampersand
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 20:54
  • @FumbleFingers: I'm not so sure about assertion. While act of assertion itself is explicit, the fact being asserted may be implicit. (I assert my dominant position by punching your face. The punch is explicit, the domination is implicit.)
    – SF.
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 21:11
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    @SF.: Obviously all words have a spread of meaning - assertion is quite capable of having the relevant meaning(s) required here. Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 21:14
  • A few hundred examples of implicit statement
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 9:30

Although I agree with the notion that were there a need for such a word, one would exist, I couldn't resist the attempt. So if an implication is something which has been implied, and therefore not stated, we're looking for a word that means "that which has been explicitly said". The closest I can get is assertion.

  • +1 I like assertion, Dominic. I'd give the answer to you, but 'declaration' works equally well, and I've voted. Thank you!
    – ampersand
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 21:03
  • @Dominic, see my question to JustinC below: Does an implication always have to be implied, as you state here?
    – ampersand
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 3:43
  • "Were there a need for such a word, one would exist" -- citation needed.
    – LarsH
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 8:23
  • @LarsH No citation needed. I as paraphrasing BarrieEngland in this thread Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 10:42
  • That's a sufficient citation for your usage: knowing that you are echoing @BarrieEngland. I would like to trace the authority or reasoning behind this statement back further though. I'm curious why we should think it to be true and whether there are studies confirming or disconfirming the thesis.
    – LarsH
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 14:31

Some potential choices:

  • Exposition/Expound
  • Elucidation/Elucidate
  • Spelling out/Spell out

There's no one definitive antonym that I can think of, but those are close.


The analogy is not so straightforward.


is not a direct addition of suffixes semantically.

Conceptually, an implication is the consequences of some premises; something implicit is an unstated assumption or a set of rules.

'Explicit' is something that is stated out loud or given by instance. So the corresponding concept to an implication, would be one of those instances or an


This doesn't fit the same register. In another direction, one might what the thing that is stated out loud and that might be an


  • I see your point. Perhaps the question should be "Implied is to explicit as implication is to _____"
    – ampersand
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 19:37
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    well, there you go, there's no real verb that fits the analogy for 'imply'. 'Exply'? No, that's not a thing. 'Explain'? That doesn't really correspond.
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 19:45
  • You are correct. When I posted, I was hoping someone would offer a noun I had not thought of. I think 'state' functions well as an antonym for 'imply' in the sense that I am looking for, but 'statement' doesn't fit the analogy to the degree that I want it to.
    – ampersand
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 19:51


It means to say in a clear, direct way. Rather than implication, to say in an unclear indirect way.

"to give a detailed explanation of." Does that mean that explication is a "detailed explanation" ?

No, not always. It just means to make something obvious, usually. Often it requires details to make something clear, but doesn't always.


How about dissociation from dissociate?

dissociate - to consider as separate and not related

If you provide context, it may help, I imagine that a phrase is more likely to be useful to you than a single word (e.g. 'distances x from...', 'makes x seem less likely').


To imply is to act or communicate from a point of consequence, not from the cause. If you imply something, you have already fast forwarded past the details that led to a conclusion and work from that point onward with little regard for preceeding activity. To infer is to work backwords from the point of consequence and further postulate the activities and cause that led to the current consequence.

I am tempted to suggest exonerate, or exoneration; but that is not quite right either.

(transitive) To free from an obligation, responsibility or task.
(transitive) To free from accusation or blame.

However, rebut or refute seem closer to the desired counter activity of imply or implication; as it distinctly puts the party in opposition at a similar point of time with regard to the cause that led to the current consequence.

refute vb
1. (tr) to prove (a statement, theory, charge, etc.) of (a person) to be false or incorrect; disprove
2. to deny (a claim, charge, allegation, etc.)
  • Does an implication always have to be implied? It seems that both an inference and an implication can be arrived at by an audience without the speaker implying anything. In that sense, inference and implication are interchangeable. I think these considerations can give clarity to what it is that I am trying to ask here! What do you think?
    – ampersand
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 3:34
  • If something can be correctly inferred, then it is at least implicit in what was said. You might indeed argue that implied implies some amount of intent on the part of the speaker. However, to answer the question here, this distinction is surely moot. Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 7:29
  • @ampersand inference and implication are not interchangeable. The term inference makes it explicit that the unstated meaning is applied by the reader. It could be argued that (at least in common usage) implication leaves open the question of who provided the extra meaning, but that is not equivalent.
    – itsbruce
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 9:28

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