Dictionary.com

innuendo

[ in-yoo-en-doh ]
/ 藢瑟n yu藞蓻n do蕣 /
Save This Word!

noun, plural in路nu路en路dos, in路nu路en路does.
an indirect intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature.
Law.
  1. a parenthetic explanation or specification in a pleading.
  2. (in an action for slander or libel) the explanation and elucidation of the words alleged to be defamatory.
  3. the word or expression thus explained.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can鈥檛 figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of innuendo

First recorded in 1555鈥65; from Latin: 鈥渁 hint,鈥 literally, 鈥渂y signaling,鈥 ablative of innuendum, gerund of innuere 鈥渢o signal,鈥 equivalent to in- in-2 + nuere 鈥渢o nod鈥

historical usage of innuendo

The English word innuendo comes from the Latin verb innuere meaning 鈥渢o nod, beckon, give a hint, intimate,鈥 a compound of the preposition and prefix in, in- 鈥渋n, into鈥 and the verb nuere 鈥渢o nod.鈥 Nuere does not occur in Latin as a simple verb but only in compounds such as abnuere 鈥渢o deny, refuse鈥 and annuere 鈥渢o give the nod to, assent to, grant.鈥 The most often seen, but least noticed, occurrence of annuere appears in the phrase from the Aeneid, annuit coeptis 鈥渉e (Jupiter) assents to the things begun鈥 on the verso of the one-dollar bill, on either side of the Eye of Providence above the thirteen-tiered pyramid.
In Latin innuendo is a gerund, a verbal noun more or less equivalent to verbal nouns ending in -ing in English, as for instance, the noun 鈥渞eading鈥 in 鈥淚 like reading,鈥 which is equivalent to the simple infinitive, as in 鈥淚 like to read.鈥 Latin innuendo is in the ablative singular case (and so to be translated 鈥渂y __ing鈥) and means 鈥渂y hinting, by intimating.鈥 In legal documents in Medieval Latin, innuendo was used as an adverb meaning 鈥渢o wit, that is to say, i.e.鈥 (its original meaning in English in the 16th century); innuendo introduced a parenthetical explanation of the exact reference of a noun or pronoun, especially in cases of slander or libel in which innuendo introduced clarifying statements about what and who was meant by the libel or slander. By the late 17th century, innuendo in English acquired a noun sense 鈥渁n indirect and usually derogatory intimation about someone or something.鈥
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use innuendo in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for innuendo

innuendo
/ (藢瑟nj蕣藞蓻nd蓹蕣) /

noun plural -dos or -does
an indirect or subtle reference, esp one made maliciously or indicating criticism or disapproval; insinuation
law (in pleading) a word introducing an explanatory phrase, usually in parenthesis
law (in an action for defamation)
  1. an explanation of the construction put upon words alleged to be defamatory where the defamatory meaning is not apparent
  2. the words thus explained

Word Origin for innuendo

C17: from Latin, literally: by hinting, from innuendum, gerund of innuere to convey by a nod, from in- 虏 + nuere to nod
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
FEEDBACK