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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inkling

Contemporary Examples of inkling

Historical Examples of inkling

  • 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.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for inkling



a slight intimation or suggestion; suspicion

Word Origin for inkling

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

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