innuendo

noun
in·​nu·​en·​do | \ˌin-yə-ˈwen-(ˌ)dō, -yü-ˈen-\
plural innuendos or innuendoes

Definition of innuendo 

1a : an oblique allusion : hint, insinuation especially : a veiled or equivocal reflection on character or reputation

b : the use of such allusions resorting to innuendo

2 : a parenthetical explanation introduced into the text of a legal document

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Synonyms for innuendo

Synonyms

imputation, insinuation

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Did You Know?

The word innuere in classical Latin meant “to nod, beckon, or make a sign to” a person, and in medieval Latin more generally “to hint” or “to insinuate.” One form of the gerund of this verb was innuendo, which meant “by hinting.” In medieval legal documents innuendo introduced inserted remarks, meaning “to wit” or “that is to say,” and the word was adopted with the same function into English legal usage. By the late 17th century innuendo was used to refer to the insertion itself and more broadly to any indirect suggestion. Later, the notion of the derogatory possibilities of such remarks came to predominate.

Examples of innuendo in a Sentence

His reputation has been damaged by innuendos about his drinking and gambling. His reputation has been damaged by innuendo. The movie relies on sexual innuendo for its humor.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Getty Images Get ready for 12 solid weeks of virgin jokes and innuendo, because Colton Underwood is the next Bachelor. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "The Next 'Bachelor' Has Been Announced and Twitter Is Not Happy," 4 Sep. 2018 Nur Jahan, the 20th wife of the Emperor Jahangir, has, in turn, met with her share of fishy Tacitean innuendo. Maxwell Carter, WSJ, "‘Empress’ Review: Light of the Mughal World," 13 July 2018 One couple from Toronto worked hard, in our brief exchange, to make every conversational banality, every scrap of small talk, a vehicle for innuendo. Jenna Sauers, Harper's BAZAAR, "Inside a Hamptons Sex Party for the Elite," 29 June 2016 Trump’s attacks on the FBI have been filled with inaccuracies and innuendo, wrongly claiming on Twitter, for instance, that McCabe was in charge of the Clinton email investigation. Eric Lichtblau, Time, "The FBI Is in Crisis. It's Worse Than You Think," 3 May 2018 Blair's posts about Helen and Holden's budding romance were packed with speculation and innuendo. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Stop Live-Tweeting Strangers Flirting," 9 July 2018 And one giant slot machine of rumor, speculation, innuendo, conjecture and overreaction. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Moore: Breaking down Suns buzz, speculation from NBA Summer League," 10 July 2018 But suspicions and innuendo are categorically insufficient to support any criminal charges. Washington Post, "Files show rising alarm in Prince’s circle as health failed," 19 Apr. 2018 Until then, the innuendo needs to stop and St. Frances’ competitors need to work harder. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, "Preston: No sympathy for the MIAA schools complaining about St. Frances," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'innuendo.' 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 innuendo

1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for innuendo

Latin, by nodding, from innuere to nod to, make a sign to, from in- + nuere to nod; akin to Latin nutare to nod — more at numen

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Statistics for innuendo

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for innuendo

The first known use of innuendo was in 1678

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More Definitions for innuendo

innuendo

noun

English Language Learners Definition of innuendo

: a statement which indirectly suggests that someone has done something immoral, improper, etc.

innuendo

noun
in·​nu·​en·​do | \ˌi-nyü-ˈwen-dō \

Legal Definition of innuendo 

: a parenthetical explanation of the text of a legal document especially : an explanation in a complaint for defamation of the defamatory meaning of a statement by the defendant which is not defamatory on its face — compare inducement

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Comments on innuendo

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