[ hint ]
/ hɪnt /
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See synonyms for: hint / hinting / hints on Thesaurus.com

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.
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Origin of hint

First recorded in 1595–1605; (noun) originally, “opportunity, occasion,” apparently variant of obsolete hent “grasp, act of seizing,” derivative of the verb: “to grasp, take,” Middle English henten, Old English hentan; (verb) derivative of the noun

synonym study for hint

5. 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.


hinter, nounun·hint·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does hint mean?

A hint is an indirect, disguised, or helpful suggestion. In other words, it’s a clue, as in Can you just give me a hint about what my birthday present is?

A hint that suggests something can be planned or unplanned, and it can even be hidden using language that only some parties may understand. A hint is usually something you see, hear, or read.

Hint can also mean a slightly noticeable amount of, such as with a taste or a smell, as in I taste a hint of fennel in this sausage.

To hint means to give a hint, as in Our teacher hinted that we might not have to take a final exam, but they wouldn’t say for sure.

To hint also means to imply something rather than stating it directly, as in The ending hinted at a sequel coming but never said it outright.

Example: I’ll never figure out the puzzle if you don’t give me a hint.

Where does hint come from?

The first records of the term hint come from around the 1500s. It is believed to come from the Old English henten, meaning “to grasp” or “to take.” This Old English term is the root for the obsolete term hent, meaning “the act of seizing.” A hint is an opportunity for one to take or seize meaning from.


In order for a hint to be a hint, the person receiving the hint must be able to understand the hinter’s meaning without any additional information. For example, leading someone to discover a conclusion by giving them more information is not a hint, whereas telling them something that strongly implies that conclusion is a hint.

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What are some other forms related to hint?

  • hinter (noun)
  • unhinted (adjective)

What are some synonyms for hint?

What are some words that share a root or word element with hint?

What are some words that often get used in discussing hint?

How is hint used in real life?

Hints are commonly given when someone wants to interest other people in what they’re hinting at.

Try using hint!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for hint?

A. suggest
B. deny
C. mention
D. imply

How to use hint in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hint

/ (hɪnt) /

a suggestion or implication given in an indirect or subtle mannerhe 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 of hint

hinter, nounhinting, nounhintingly, adverb

Word Origin for hint

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with hint


see take a hint.

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