Tacet vs. Tacit: Difference Explained

Tacet and tacit have their roots in the Latin word ‘tacere,’ which means ‘to be silent.’ But while they share a common etymology, they have different meanings and usage.


“Tacet” is a Latin adverb and adjective meaning “it is silent.” It is used as a notation in sheet music to indicate that a particular instrument or voice should remain silent during a composition section. For example, if a section of a piece of music is marked “tacet” for the flute, the flutist should not play during that section of the piece.

For example:

The conductor signaled to the orchestra that the violins should remain to tacet for the first few measures of the piece.


The word “tacit” is an adjective referring to something understood or implied without being explicitly stated. It describes a quality or characteristic that is present but not expressed in words. For instance, when you visit a foreign country and notice that people are expected to remove their shoes before entering homes or temples, you might infer this is a tacit cultural norm. While no one explicitly tells you to remove your shoes, you can deduce that it is an accepted practice by observing the behavior of others.

Tacit can also refer to unspoken agreements or understandings between individuals or groups. For example, when two people are in a committed relationship, there may be tacit expectations about how they treat each other, spend their time, or communicate. These expectations are not necessarily communicated explicitly but are still understood and expected to be upheld.

An example of tacit knowledge is the way people use language. Most native speakers of a language have an implicit understanding of grammar and syntax that allows them to speak and write correctly without consciously thinking about the rules.

For example:

John’s tacit understanding with his boss meant he didn’t have to be told what was expected of him at work.


The company’s success was partly due to the tacit knowledge the employees had accumulated over the years.

The Difference Between Tacet and Tacit

The main difference between “tacet” and “tacit” is that “tacet” is a word that indicates silence or lack of communication, while “tacit” is an adjective that describes something that is understood or implied without being explicitly stated. “Tacet” can function as both an adverb and an adjective, depending on the context in which it is used, while “tacit” is only used as an adjective.

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