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[in-tuh-meyt] /ˈɪn təˌmeɪt/
verb (used with object), intimated, intimating.
to indicate or make known indirectly; hint; imply; suggest.
Archaic. to make known; announce.
Origin of intimate2
1530-40; < Late Latin intimātus, past participle of intimāre to impress (upon), make known, equivalent to intim(us) inmost (see intima) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
intimater, noun
intimation, noun
preintimation, noun
quasi-intimated, adjective
unintimated, adjective
Can be confused
intimate, intimidate.
1. See hint. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for intimating
Historical Examples
  • He got up with the same grin upon his features,—not a grin of simplicity, but intimating knowingness.

  • He pointed to the boat, intimating by his signs that she was to go on board.

    Hope and Have Oliver Optic
  • I am not intimating that corruption creeps in; I do not know what creeps in.

    The New Freedom Woodrow Wilson
  • That was his gentle way of intimating that Claude was not invited to be a looker-on.

    Bonaventure George Washington Cable
  • The young lawyer's friends had suggested his name to the President, intimating that he wished the place.

  • We followed, they intimating that we should very likely come up with it.

    On the Banks of the Amazon W.H.G. Kingston
  • I then gave them some pieces of dried meat, intimating by signs that it must be grilled; soon afterwards they retired.

  • I signed to him to fly to it, intimating that I would defend him with my rifle.

  • I enclose a sketch, intimating an outline and style that will suit your location.

  • With some indignation of gesture, he refused it, intimating that it was too little.

    Saunterings Charles Dudley Warner
British Dictionary definitions for intimating


characterized by a close or warm personal relationship: an intimate friend
deeply personal, private, or secret
(euphemistic) (often postpositive) foll by with. having sexual relations (with)
  1. (postpositive) foll by with. having a deep or unusual knowledge (of)
  2. (of knowledge) deep; extensive
having a friendly, warm, or informal atmosphere: an intimate nightclub
of or relating to the essential part or nature of something; intrinsic
denoting the informal second person of verbs and pronouns in French and other languages
a close friend
Derived Forms
intimately, adverb
intimateness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin intimus very close friend, from (adj): innermost, deepest, from intus within


verb (transitive; may take a clause as object)
to hint; suggest
to proclaim; make known
Derived Forms
intimater, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin intimāre to proclaim, from Latin intimus innermost
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 intimating



1630s, "closely acquainted, very familiar," from Late Latin intimatus, past participle of intimare "make known, announce, impress," from Latin intimus "inmost" (adj.), "close friend" (n.), superlative of in "in" (see in- (2)). Used euphemistically in reference to women's underwear from 1904. Related: Intimately.


"suggest indirectly," 1530s, back-formation from intimation, or else from Late Latin intimatus, past participle of intimare. Related: Intimated; intimating.


1650s, "person with whom one is intimate," from intimate (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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