See more synonyms for hint on Thesaurus.com
  1. an indirect, covert, or helpful suggestion; clue: Give me a hint as to his identity.
  2. a very slight or hardly noticeable amount; soupçon: a hint of garlic in the salad dressing.
  3. perceived indication or suggestion; note; intimation: a hint of spring in the air.
  4. Obsolete. an occasion or opportunity.
verb (used with object)
  1. to give a hint of: gray skies hinting a possible snowfall.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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 formshint·er, nounun·hint·ed, adjective

Synonyms for hint

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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.

Antonyms for hint

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hint

Contemporary Examples of hint

Historical Examples of hint

British Dictionary definitions for hint


  1. a suggestion or implication given in an indirect or subtle mannerhe dropped a hint
  2. a helpful piece of advice or practical suggestion
  3. a small amount; trace
  1. (when intr, often foll by at; when tr, takes a clause as object) to suggest or imply indirectly
Derived Formshinter, 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

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

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.