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[hint] /hɪnt/
an indirect, covert, or helpful suggestion; clue:
Give me a hint as to his identity.
a very slight or hardly noticeable amount; soupçon:
a hint of garlic in the salad dressing.
perceived indication or suggestion; note; intimation:
a hint of spring in the air.
Obsolete. an occasion or opportunity.
verb (used with object)
to give a hint of:
gray skies hinting a possible snowfall.
verb (used without object)
to make indirect suggestion or allusion; subtly imply (usually followed by at):
The article hinted at corruption in the mayor's office.
Origin of hint
1595-1605; (noun) orig., opportunity, occasion, apparently variant of obsolete hent grasp, act of seizing, derivative of the v.: to grasp, take, Middle English henten, Old English hentan; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related forms
hinter, noun
unhinted, adjective
1. allusion, insinuation, innuendo; memorandum, reminder; inkling. 5. imply. Hint, intimate, insinuate, suggest denote the conveying of an idea to the mind indirectly or without full or explicit statement. To hint is to convey an idea covertly or indirectly, but intelligibly: to hint that one would like a certain present; to hint that bits of gossip might be true. To intimate is to give a barely perceptible hint, often with the purpose of influencing action: to intimate that something may be possible. To insinuate is to hint artfully, often at what one would not dare to say directly: to insinuate something against someone's reputation. Suggest denotes particularly recalling something to the mind or starting a new train of thought by means of association of ideas: The name doesn't suggest anything to me.
5. express, declare. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for hint


a suggestion or implication given in an indirect or subtle manner: he dropped a hint
a helpful piece of advice or practical suggestion
a small amount; trace
when intr, often foll by at; when tr, takes a clause as object. to suggest or imply indirectly
Derived Forms
hinter, noun
hinting, noun
hintingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hint

c.1600, apparently from obsolete hent, from Middle English hinten "to tell, inform" (c.1400), from Old English hentan "to seize," from Proto-Germanic *hantijanan (cf. Gothic hinþan "to seize"), related to hunt (v.). Modern sense and spelling first attested in Shakespeare.


1640s, from hint (n.). Related: Hinted; hinting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with hint


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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