inkling

noun in·kling \ ˈiŋ-kliŋ \

Definition of inkling

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

inkling was our Word of the Day on 04/08/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of inkling in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of inkling from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of inkling

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


INKLING Defined for English Language Learners

inkling

noun

Definition of inkling for English Language Learners

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


INKLING Defined for Kids

inkling

noun in·kling \ ˈiŋ-kliŋ \

Definition of inkling for Students

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


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