Definition of inkling
- had not the faintest inkling of what it was all about
- —H. W. Carter
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
did not give the slightest inkling that he was planning to quit
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.
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."
First Known Use: 1513See Words from the same year
: a slight, uncertain idea about something : a slight amount of knowledge about something
What made you want to look up inkling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
of yeast or being unsettled or frivolous
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ