Definition of insinuate
1a : to introduce (as an idea) gradually or in a subtle, indirect, or covert way insinuate doubts into a trusting mindb : to impart or suggest in an artful or indirect way : imply I resent what you're insinuating
2 : to introduce (as oneself) by stealthy, smooth, or artful means
1 archaic : to enter gently, slowly, or imperceptibly : creep
2 archaic : to ingratiate oneself
insinuativeplay \in-ˈsin-yə-ˌwā-tiv, -yü-ˌā-\ adjective
insinuatorplay \in-ˈsin-yə-ˌwā-tər, -yü-ˌā-\ noun
insinuate was our Word of the Day on 08/24/2016. Hear the podcast!
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?
Did You Know?
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").
Origin and Etymology of insinuate
Latin insinuatus, past participle of insinuare, from in- + sinuare to bend, curve, from sinus curve
First Known Use: 1529
Synonym Discussion of insinuate
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.
INSINUATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of insinuate for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up insinuate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).