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

Jed's going through it right now with all the rumors and innuendos. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Chris Harrison Thinks Bachelorette Hannah Brown Should ‘Beware’ of Jed," 23 July 2019 Into the vacuum rumor and innuendo have stepped, especially on the Internet. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Suicide of Fallbrook horseman suspended for sexual misconduct roils equestrian world," 1 July 2019 Any other actors might have struggled with a script that called for such a nuanced performance, but Grant and Saint switch believably back and forth from innuendo-laden quips one second to running for their lives the next. Alec Dent, National Review, "North by Northwest Turns 60," 28 June 2019 And that’s why some of the innuendo from Apple was a little annoying, from our standpoint. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Google’s login chief would rather you use Apple’s sign-in button than keep using passwords," 12 June 2019 This suit is based on rumors and innuendo fueled by social media posts. Christopher Harress | Charress@al.com, al.com, "Gulf Coast Sheriff denies being part of sex ring that involved children and a deputy," 3 July 2019 Give them a little bit of tequila, and Seth Meyers and Rihanna turn into giggling high schoolers armed with innuendos. Rachel Yang, EW.com, "Watch Rihanna give Seth Meyers a makeover and sex advice while day drinking on Late Night," 21 June 2019 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

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

20 Aug 2019

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 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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