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

Take body-shaming out of your vocabulary Since before Trump was elected, media personalities (especially comedians) have made much sport of using innuendo to mock his genitals. Samantha Riedel, Teen Vogue, "How to Break Away From the Gender Binary," 26 Oct. 2018 Our court systems are not created to deal with things like this, these innuendoes. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "Capital Gazette shooting suspect seen as angry loner, obsessed with those who 'wronged' him," 3 July 2018 This method was perfected by the legendary entertainment lawyer Bert Fields, who represented such targets as Michael Jackson (during his trial for child molestation) and perpetual innuendo magnet Tom Cruise. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Much Does It Cost to Keep Your Name Out of the News?," 18 Jan. 2019 But in their sentencing memo this week, Flynn’s lawyers appeared to make certain innuendos about the FBI’s behavior in setting up and conducting the interview. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "New tension between Flynn and Mueller as Flynn’s sentencing approaches," 14 Dec. 2018 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 Is there any meat on the bone to justify the innuendo that Painter and Tanden seemed to be aiming at Kennedy and his son? Salvador Rizzo, chicagotribune.com, "There is an unfounded conspiracy theory about the Supreme Court and Trump Tower Chicago," 14 July 2018 In fact, both the substance and the style of the tweets mimicked the kind of unremarkable banter and unfounded innuendo one often sees—and then forgets—on Twitter. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Bryan Colangelo Still Face Legal Consequences After Parting Ways With 76ers?," 7 June 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

5 Mar 2019

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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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