innuendo

noun
in·​nu·​en·​do | \ ˌin-yə-ˈwen-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce innuendo (audio) , -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

Like Fleabag, Waller-Bridge is congenitally disposed toward saucy innuendo. David Kamp, WSJ, "Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a Powerhouse on the Rise," 5 Nov. 2018 There was a lot of innuendo, disingenuousness and outright lying about me, much of it steeped in barely concealed racial language. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "Michelle Obama on Facing Criticism, Life After the White House, and Advice for Meghan Markle," 3 Dec. 2018 With Florida home to many within the pro wrestling industry, who knows who might stop by to clear up any rumor and innuendo. Scott Fishman, miamiherald, "Matches, live podcast at Pro Wrestling Day at Florida Panthers," 14 Feb. 2018 The frantic churning of hearsay and innuendo about bad guys who, being bad guys, must have been doing bad things. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Anatomy of a Farce," 13 Jan. 2018 Harassment as defined under the new policy extends to racially offensive words or phrases along with other demeaning jokes or comments, innuendoes, and unwelcome compliments of a personal or intimate nature. Morgan Lee, The Seattle Times, "New Mexico Legislature overhauls sexual harassment policy," 15 Jan. 2018 That’s how gossip has long worked: through pun, innuendo, and blind items, which speak the unspeakable. The Editors, The Atlantic, "Mr. Robot and Superheroes: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing," 14 Oct. 2017 The cocktail menu, printed on recycled paper (duh), is filled with cheeky innuendo. Naren Young, CNT, "Best Bars in Singapore Right Now," 28 Sep. 2017 But those of us who love athletics are tired of the cloud of doubt and innuendo that has hung over our records for too long. Mark Zeigler, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Should we start over with tainted track records?," 3 Aug. 2017

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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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 How to pronounce innuendo (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on innuendo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with innuendo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for innuendo

Spanish Central: Translation of innuendo

Nglish: Translation of innuendo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of innuendo for Arabic Speakers

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