in·​sin·​u·​ate | \ in-ˈsin-yə-ˌwāt How to pronounce insinuate (audio) , -yü-ˌāt \
insinuated; insinuating

Definition of insinuate

transitive verb

1a : to impart or suggest in an artful or indirect way : imply I resent what you're insinuating.
b : to introduce (something, such as an idea) gradually or in a subtle, indirect, or covert way insinuate doubts into a trusting mind
2 : to introduce (someone, such as oneself) by stealthy, smooth, or artful means

intransitive verb

1 archaic : to enter gently, slowly, or imperceptibly : creep
2 archaic : to ingratiate oneself

Other Words from insinuate

insinuative \ in-​ˈsin-​yə-​ˌwā-​tiv How to pronounce insinuate (audio) , -​yü-​ˌā-​ \ adjective
insinuator \ in-​ˈsin-​yə-​ˌwā-​tər How to pronounce insinuate (audio) , -​yü-​ˌā-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for insinuate

introduce, insert, insinuate, interpolate, intercalate, interpose, interject mean to put between or among others. introduce is a general term for bringing or placing a thing or person into a group or body already in existence. introduced a new topic into the conversation insert implies putting into a fixed or open space between or among. inserted a clause in the contract insinuate implies introducing gradually or by gentle pressure. insinuated himself into the group interpolate applies to the inserting of something extraneous or spurious. interpolated her own comments into the report intercalate suggests an intrusive inserting of something in an existing series or sequence. new chapters intercalated with the old interpose suggests inserting an obstruction or cause of delay. interpose barriers to communication interject implies an abrupt or forced introduction. interjected a question

suggest, imply, hint, intimate, insinuate mean to convey an idea indirectly. suggest may stress putting into the mind by association of ideas, awakening of a desire, or initiating a train of thought. a film title that suggests its subject matter imply is close to suggest but may indicate a more definite or logical relation of the unexpressed idea to the expressed. measures implying that bankruptcy was imminent hint implies the use of slight or remote suggestion with a minimum of overt statement. hinted that she might get the job intimate stresses delicacy of suggestion without connoting any lack of candor. intimates that there is more to the situation than meets the eye insinuate applies to the conveying of a usually unpleasant idea in a sly underhanded manner. insinuated that there were shady dealings

When to Use Insinuate

Insinuate comes from the Latin root sinuare, meaning "to bend or curve." It is a synonym of imply or suggest; however, insinuate usually conveys something unpleasant is said in a sly or underhanded way.

Examples of insinuate in a Sentence

years were needed for the agent to insinuate himself into the terrorist organization are you insinuating that I won by cheating?
Recent Examples on the Web Trump repeatedly posted to Truth Social after the search, including to insinuate that the FBI had planted evidence. Jonathan Dienst, NBC News, 11 Aug. 2022 But that does not insinuate the virus should not be taken seriously. Shelby Denise Smith, Essence, 30 July 2022 Naturally Howard survives the attack, so while Unique is still on the hook for the murder attempt, Howard is back on the street with more reason than ever to insinuate himself into Raq and Kanan’s affairs. Kate Aurthur, Variety, 11 Aug. 2022 Cohn offers Rusty good pay to insinuate herself into the couple’s ménage as Hayworth’s secretary and report back to him. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 5 Aug. 2022 His response also seemed to insinuate something demeaning about my mother, and this disturbed me even more. David Wright Faladé, The New Yorker, 4 July 2022 While the charge against Mr. Sussmann is narrow, Mr. Durham has used it to release large amounts of information to insinuate that there was a broad conspiracy involving the Clinton campaign to essentially frame Mr. Trump for colluding with Russia. New York Times, 15 May 2022 In their requests, some conservative groups insinuate that diversity training and minority hiring targets discriminate against Whites and demand companies like Bank of America, Pfizer and Citigroup conduct racial equity audits. Corinne Post, Forbes, 15 June 2022 In this day and age, to insinuate that the pope cannot continue his work in his present condition shows that even the pope is not immune to the prejudice that thousands of people with disabilities suffer on a daily basis. The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insinuate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of insinuate

1529, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1b

History and Etymology for insinuate

Latin insinuatus, past participle of insinuare, from in- + sinuare to bend, curve, from sinus curve

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Time Traveler for insinuate

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The first known use of insinuate was in 1529

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Last Updated

30 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Insinuate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for insinuate


in·​sin·​u·​ate | \ in-ˈsin-yə-ˌwāt How to pronounce insinuate (audio) \
insinuated; insinuating

Kids Definition of insinuate

1 : hint entry 2, imply She insinuated that I had cheated.
2 : to bring or get in little by little or in a secret way He insinuated himself into the group.

More from Merriam-Webster on insinuate

Nglish: Translation of insinuate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of insinuate for Arabic Speakers


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