insinuate

verb
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

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Other Words from insinuate

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

The meaning of insinuate is similar to that of another verb, suggest. Whether you suggest or insinuate something, you are conveying an idea indirectly. But although these two words share the same basic meaning, each gets the idea across in a different way. When you suggest something, you put it into the mind by associating it with other ideas, desires, or thoughts. You might say, for example, that a book's title suggests what the story is about. The word insinuate, on the other hand, usually includes a sense that the idea being conveyed is unpleasant, or that it is being passed along in a sly or underhanded way ("She insinuated that I cheated").

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 Dench inhabits her hieratic role with wisdom, grace, nobility, and a sense of moment; Elba invests Macavity with fierce and insinuating power. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Cats” Could Have Been a Contender," 27 Dec. 2019 Poggi insinuates the reasons were more insidious, extending to race and class. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Inside the Baltimore superpower fueling Michigan football's 2020 recruiting class," 17 Dec. 2019 In a recent tweet evidently directed at fellow mega-billionaire Bill Gates, Musk insinuated that his grand solar plan is actually quite simple (hat-tip to Inverse): Musk guesstimates the farm would be 100 miles by 100 miles. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Elon Musk's Plan for One Giant Solar Farm Is a Little Insane, but Not Completely Insane," 10 Dec. 2019 Indeed, Stewart Resnick insinuated himself in 2009 into the debate over whether the severe drought in the region should be blamed on environmental restrictions designed to help revive fisheries and river habitats. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Resnicks set a record with Caltech gift, but altruism isn’t the whole story," 1 Oct. 2019 In a 1990 Playboy interview, Trump made a callous reference to Malcolm Kerr’s murder, insinuating that Kerr was asking for trouble by teaching in Beirut. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors’ Steve Kerr stands resolute in wake of President Trump’s belittling," 10 Oct. 2019 Were Opposition Bloc a party of mobsters, as my clients seven years earlier had insinuated? Sam Patten, WIRED, "Kostya and Me: How Sam Patten Got Ensnared in Mueller’s Probe," 14 Aug. 2019 Janovitz, who performed with Easton at a benefit event in Los Angeles earlier this year, is still in awe of the way Ocasek insinuated his detached presence and skewed point-of-view into the mainstream of American pop. BostonGlobe.com, "Ric Ocasek of the Cars outside Syncro Sound Studio in Boston in 1984.," 17 Sep. 2019 The texts revealed conversations between Meyer and Smith in January 2018, insinuating that Saban had already offered Smith a position after the 2017 season. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Nick Saban: Alabama Passed on Zach Smith Hire After Background Check," 3 Aug. 2019

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.

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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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The first known use of insinuate was in 1529

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Last Updated

2 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insinuate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insinuate. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for insinuate

insinuate

verb
How to pronounce insinuate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of insinuate

: to say (something, especially something bad or insulting) in an indirect way
formal : to gradually make (yourself) a part of a group, a person's life, etc., often by behaving in a dishonest way

insinuate

verb
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.

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