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[ingk-ling] /ˈɪŋk lɪŋ/
a slight suggestion or indication; hint; intimation:
They hadn't given us an inkling of what was going to happen.
a vague idea or notion; slight understanding:
They didn't have an inkling of how the new invention worked.
Origin of inkling
1505-15; obsolete inkle to hint (Middle English inklen) + -ing1; akin to Old English inca suspicion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inkling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A day's visit from Paris will give you an inkling of this, but only an inkling.

  • Then the parson had his first inkling that the strange visitor must be mad.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • I should judge, from that, he has an inkling of its value, and wants merely to corroborate it.

    A Woman Intervenes Robert Barr
  • When they had had sufficient to eat and drink he allowed them to get an inkling of what was in his mind.

  • Force was useless: in some trick lay the chance; and I had already an inkling of what we must do.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
British Dictionary definitions for inkling


a slight intimation or suggestion; suspicion
Word Origin
C14: probably from inclen to hint at; related to Old English inca
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 inkling

c.1400, apparently from the gerund of Middle English verb inclen "utter in an undertone, hint at, hint" (mid-14c.), which is of unknown origin; perhaps related to Old English inca "doubt, suspicion."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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