1 of 2


: a statement that expresses indirectly what one prefers not to say explicitly
had been dropping hints that he would like to be invited
: an indirect or general suggestion for how to do or solve something
helpful hints for inexperienced cooks
can't tell you the answer but can give you a hint
: a slight indication of the existence, approach, or nature of something : clue
gave only a hint of what was to come
: a very small amount : suggestion
with just a hint of spice
archaic : opportunity, turn


2 of 2


hinted; hinting; hints

transitive verb

: to convey indirectly and by allusion rather than explicitly
a suspicion that she scarcely dared to hint

intransitive verb

: to give an indirect suggestion or piece of evidence that leads one toward the solution of a problem : to give a hint
usually used with at
hint at the answer
hinter noun
Choose the Right Synonym for hint

suggest, imply, hint, intimate, insinuate mean to convey an idea indirectly.

suggest may stress putting into the mind by association of ideas, awakening of a desire, or initiating a train of thought.

a film title that suggests its subject matter

imply is close to suggest but may indicate a more definite or logical relation of the unexpressed idea to the expressed.

measures implying that bankruptcy was imminent

hint implies the use of slight or remote suggestion with a minimum of overt statement.

hinted that she might get the job

intimate stresses delicacy of suggestion without connoting any lack of candor.

intimates that there is more to the situation than meets the eye

insinuate applies to the conveying of a usually unpleasant idea in a sly underhanded manner.

insinuated that there were shady dealings

Examples of hint in a Sentence

Noun Her face gave me a hint of what she was thinking. “I have a lot of work to do.” “OK, I'll leave. I can take a hint.” The sauce has a subtle hint of garlic. He had a hint of a German accent. They'll betray you at the first hint of trouble. Verb I keep hinting, but she's not catching on. I think I need to be more direct. The boss hinted about possible layoffs. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Opt for a platinum blonde like Lady Gaga that has a subtle hint of warmth. Audrey Noble, Vogue, 22 Nov. 2023 Jason Kelce’s wardrobe has a hint of nostalgia this holiday season! Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 22 Nov. 2023 The industry is bracing for a mild season given that retail sales fell in October — the first decline since March and a hint that consumers may have price fatigue. Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 The surprise news of Altman’s ouster and the company’s vague hints of deceitfulness on his part spread across Silicon Valley’s tech community like wildfire. Kylie Robison, Fortune, 17 Nov. 2023 The racecourse turned subtly northwest, providing a brief respite from triple-digit temperatures, with a hint of ocean breeze rolling in off the Pacific as our map on the Polaris Ride Command screen showed blue to our left. Michael Van Runkle, Robb Report, 15 Nov. 2023 Votive Candle Housed in a glass vessel with a gold pattern, this 2-ounce Nest candle has notes of mandarin orange, cloves, cinnamon, pomegranate, and pine, plus hints of amber and vanilla. Isabel Garcia, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2023 In contrast, buttermilk pie gets its signature tangy flavor from buttermilk, a splash of lemon juice, and a hint of vanilla. Pam Lolley, Southern Living, 9 Nov. 2023 For the record: Trader Joe’s Restaurant Style White Corn Tortilla Chips are the best (extra salty, sturdy, and just the slightest hint of lime). Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, 9 Nov. 2023
Keri Moore, Lionsgate’s co-president of worldwide theatrical marketing, previously hinted to Variety that something supernatural could be at play. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2023 Rolling Loud has yet to hint or reveal who the surprise act might be. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 14 Nov. 2023 However, the company hinted it would be renovated and redesigned soon. Devorah Lev-Tov, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Nov. 2023 Sunday was the third time the U.S. had carried out such strikes, and Austin hinted the U.S. was willing to do more. Jiyoung Sohn, WSJ, 13 Nov. 2023 The film’s latest trailer hinted that a separate universe will touch the MCU’s, which means there could be more heroes and characters. Herb Scribner, Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2023 Certain language in the court order also hints that Chutkan is getting wise to Trump’s antics. Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling, The New Republic, 3 Nov. 2023 Ng taught OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman at Stanford and hinted his former student may be trying to consolidate an oligopoly of powerful tech companies controlling AI. Ryan Hogg, Fortune, 1 Nov. 2023 Photo: isaac esquivel/Shutterstock MEXICO CITY—The Bank of Mexico held its benchmark interest rate steady for a fifth consecutive time Thursday, while hinting it could be moving closer to eventual rate cuts as progress is made in lowering inflation. Anthony Harrup, WSJ, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hint.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

probably alteration of obsolete hent act of seizing, from hent, verb

First Known Use


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 4


1648, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of hint was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near hint

Cite this Entry

“Hint.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hint. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a slight mention : a suggestion or reminder
a hint of winter in the air
: a slight indication of the existence or nature of something : clue
: a very small amount : trace
a hint of garlic


2 of 2 verb
: to bring to mind by or give a hint
hinter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on hint

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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