inkling

noun
in·​kling | \ ˈiŋ-kliŋ How to pronounce inkling (audio) \

Definition of inkling

1 : a slight indication or suggestion : hint, clue there was no path—no inkling even of a trackNew Yorker
2 : a slight knowledge or vague notion had not the faintest inkling of what it was all about— H. W. Carter

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Did You Know?

Originating in English in the early 16th century, inkling derives from Middle English yngkiling, meaning "whisper or mention," and perhaps further from the verb inclen, meaning "to hint at." It also shares a distant relationship with the Old English noun inca, meaning "suspicion." An early sense of the word meant "a faint perceptible sound or undertone" or "rumor," but now people usually use the word to refer to a tiny bit of knowledge or information that a person receives about something. One related word you might not have heard of is the verb inkle, a back-formation of inkling that occurs in some British English dialects and means "to have an idea or notion of."

Examples of inkling in a Sentence

did not give the slightest inkling that he was planning to quit

Recent Examples on the Web

Researchers had an inkling that some crannogs had Stone Age beginning in the 1980s, when excavations at a crannog at Scotland’s North Uist island revealed Neolithic artifacts. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Scotland’s Tiny Artificial Islands Date to the Stone Age," 14 June 2019 So far, there is little inkling of anything in the works nearly ambitious enough: Hence the apparent resort to lending targets imposed from above. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Chinese Banks: We’ll Never Grow Up, Not Us," 13 Nov. 2018 Before this, there have only been a few inklings of possible exomoons in the past. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Astronomers may have discovered the first moon ever found outside our Solar System," 3 Oct. 2018 Under President Obama, there was some inkling that Iran might become the new stanchion of stability. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "On Saudi Arabia, Trump Has a Clue," 23 Nov. 2018 Together the digitally savvy pair pulls inspiration from social media, obscure comic books, even an inkling that something is about to pop in the zeitgeist. Taylor Rainbolt, Glamour, "Alana Mayo, Michael B. Jordan's Secret Weapon, Is Poised to Take Over Hollywood," 12 Oct. 2018 New additions include the colorful inklings from Splatoon, Simon Belmont from Castlevania, and villains like Donkey Kong’s King K. Rool and Metroid’s Ridley. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the complete package," 6 Dec. 2018 But in many cases, the family had no inkling that this terrible thing would happen. Dr. Judy Melinek, Vox, "The NRA told doctors to “stay in your lane” on guns. I’m a doctor. This is my lane.," 12 Nov. 2018 Meripet has at least an inkling of where her children are. Yanan Wang And Dake Kang, Fox News, "China distances children from families to subdue Muslim west," 20 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inkling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of inkling

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inkling

Middle English yngkiling whisper, mention, probably from inclen to hint at; akin to Old English inca suspicion

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Dictionary Entries near inkling

ink knife

inkle

inkless

inkling

inkman

ink mushroom

ink pad

Statistics for inkling

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for inkling

The first known use of inkling was in 1513

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More Definitions for inkling

inkling

noun

English Language Learners Definition of inkling

: a slight, uncertain idea about something : a slight amount of knowledge about something

inkling

noun
in·​kling | \ ˈiŋ-kliŋ How to pronounce inkling (audio) \

Kids Definition of inkling

: a vague notion : hint She hadn't an inkling there was a problem.

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More from Merriam-Webster on inkling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inkling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inkling

Spanish Central: Translation of inkling

Nglish: Translation of inkling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inkling for Arabic Speakers

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