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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What follows is a heady brew of jealousy and desire as Irene feels Clare insinuating herself into her life. Megan Abbott, WSJ, "Five Best: Megan Abbott on Novels About Female Friendship," 9 Aug. 2018 Its risqué blend of shimmying disco, insinuating R&B, appalling stereotypes and outright nonsense has endured through 40 years. New York Times, "15 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in NYC This Weekend," 5 Apr. 2018 This episode really muscles in some drama between the guys, insinuating that the remaining men don't think Becca and Colton are right together. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Bachelorette Season 14, Episode 7 Recap: Becca Picks A Supreme Court Nominee," 10 July 2018 Phèdre departs with Hippolyte, who hides the truth out of filial respect, leaving Phèdre’s confidante, Oenone, to insinuate to the devastated Thésée that Hippolyte did indeed seek to harm Phèdre. George Loomis, New York Times, "An Opera Worth Fighting Over," 13 Apr. 2018 The 2-mile gap in Qara Chokh into which Islamic State has insinuated itself exists because the Iraqi Security Forces and the Peshmerga prefer to keep a safe distance. Jonathan Spyer, WSJ, "ISIS Finds a Niche in Northern Iraq," 5 Dec. 2018 Drake and Pusha have long traded barbs and diss tracks, with Pusha long insinuating that Drake uses ghostwriters for his material. Bridget Read, Vogue, "This Was the Year of Celebrity Feuds," 26 Dec. 2018 Trump has insinuated without proof that there are criminals or even terrorists in the group. Maria Verza, The Seattle Times, "US hardens border at Tijuana to prepare for migrant caravan," 13 Nov. 2018 Most of the comments on dislocation, oppression, discrimination – even rape – are poetically insinuated. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about insinuate

Listen to Our Podcast about insinuate

Statistics for insinuate

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insinuate

The first known use of insinuate was in 1529

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for insinuate

insinuate

verb

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on insinuate

What made you want to look up insinuate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!