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 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

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 The Silence of the Lambs is its ability to insinuate rather than spell things out, more gracefully even than the source material. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Dark Fate of Clarice Starling," 12 Feb. 2021 His attempts to insinuate America Patriots USA into mainstream conservative politics have met with limited success, however. Chris Joyner, ajc, "Militia alliance in Georgia signals new phase for extremist paramilitaries," 4 Feb. 2021 What seems amiss here is that Mr. Epstein seems to insinuate that the race, color and gender type of diversity happens often as a trade-off to merit and accomplishment. WSJ, "Merit and Diversity Need Not Be in Conflict," 11 Jan. 2021 The mayor’s comments sparked indignation in a country where officials routinely insinuate that crime victims are somehow responsible for their fates. Patrick J. Mcdonnell, Los Angeles Times, "This reporter went to cover a homicide in Mexico. Then he became a victim," 4 Dec. 2020 Kallman seemed to insinuate that the outcome of the audit could affect Michigan's presidential election results, which were certified on Nov. 23. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, "Judge Kenny promises opinion by Dec. 8 on request for Wayne County election audit," 3 Dec. 2020 The artful wording allowed Cruz to insinuate that the election was being stolen without directly making that claim. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Ted Cruz, affirming Trump’s refusal to concede, angles to be Trumpiest post-Trump contender," 13 Nov. 2020 That was the indirect cause of the accident, a letter, a letter from a person who does not exist, who never existed, no matter what others believe, claim, insinuate. Seija Rankin, EW.com, "First look: Laura Lippman's Dream Girl is the book version of the mind-blown emoji," 12 Nov. 2020 Streicker’s television ads insinuate DeLauro is guilty of corruption for allowing Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, to live in the basement of her Capitol Hill home rent-free. Ana Radelat, courant.com, "Margaret Streicker pours $1.15M into her campaign in the final days of a bitter race against Rosa DeLauro," 27 Oct. 2020

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

Time Traveler for insinuate

Time Traveler

The first known use of insinuate was in 1529

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about insinuate

Statistics for insinuate

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Insinuate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insinuate. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

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

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!