insinuate

verb
in·​sin·​u·​ate | \ in-ˈsin-yə-ˌwāt, -yü-ˌāt\
insinuated; insinuating

Definition of insinuate

transitive verb

1a : to introduce (something, such as an idea) gradually or in a subtle, indirect, or covert way insinuate doubts into a trusting mind
b : to impart or suggest in an artful or indirect way : imply I resent what you're insinuating
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 , -​yü-​ˌā-​ \ adjective
insinuator \ in-​ˈsin-​yə-​ˌwā-​tər , -​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 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 Cheryl clapped back at rumors insinuating her mother is to blame for her recent split from Liam Payne. Nicole Sands, PEOPLE.com, "Cheryl Claps Back at Claims Her Mother Caused Liam Payne Split: 'She Has Absolutely Nothing to Do with Any of It'," 3 July 2018 Newcastle manger Rafa Benitez has claimed midfielder Mikel Merino has been 'unlucky' not to feature more in his debut season for the club, but insinuated that the Spaniard could still be in his future plans. SI.com, "Magpies Boss Rafa Benitez Hints That 'Unlucky' Newcastle Youngster Is Still in Future Plans," 12 May 2018 His joke insinuated that divorced people are failures. Rob Walker, The Seattle Times, "Asking for a raise when the boss won’t hear of it," 25 Oct. 2018 In everything from political elections to the debates over Roseanne Barr’s and Samantha Bee’s controversial statements, bots are insinuating themselves into the discourse and provoking humans into being more outraged. Recode Staff, Recode, "How bots amplify hoaxes and propaganda on social media," 2 Aug. 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.

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First Known Use of insinuate

1529, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for insinuate

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

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for insinuate

The first known use of insinuate was in 1529

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More Definitions for insinuate

insinuate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of insinuate

: to say (something, especially something bad or insulting) in an indirect way

: 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 \
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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