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  1. tending to instill doubts, distrust, etc.; suggestive: an insinuating letter.
  2. gaining favor or winning confidence by artful means: an insinuating manner.
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Origin of insinuating

First recorded in 1585–95; insinuate + -ing2
Related formsin·sin·u·at·ing·ly, adverbhalf-in·sin·u·at·ing, adjectivehalf-in·sin·u·at·ing·ly, adverbpre·in·sin·u·at·ing·ly, adverbun·in·sin·u·at·ing, adjective


verb (used with object), in·sin·u·at·ed, in·sin·u·at·ing.
  1. to suggest or hint slyly: He insinuated that they were lying.
  2. to instill or infuse subtly or artfully, as into the mind: to insinuate doubts through propaganda.
  3. to bring or introduce into a position or relation by indirect or artful methods: to insinuate oneself into favor.
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verb (used without object), in·sin·u·at·ed, in·sin·u·at·ing.
  1. to make insinuations.
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Origin of insinuate

1520–30; < Latin insinuātus, past participle of insinuāre to work in, instill. See in-2, sinuous, -ate1
Related formsin·sin·u·a·tive [in-sin-yoo-ey-tiv, -yoo-uh-] /ɪnˈsɪn yuˌeɪ tɪv, -yu ə-/, in·sin·u·a·to·ry [in-sin-yoo-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪnˈsɪn yu əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivein·sin·u·a·tive·ly, adverbin·sin·u·a·tor, nounhalf-in·sin·u·at·ed, adjectivepre·in·sin·u·ate, verb, pre·in·sin·u·at·ed, pre·in·sin·u·at·ing.pre·in·sin·u·a·tive, adjectiveun·in·sin·u·at·ed, adjectiveun·in·sin·u·a·tive, adjective


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1. See hint. 2. introduce, inject, inculcate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for insinuating

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Excuse me for insinuating by this expression, that there may yet be amongst you some novices.

  • The insinuating traveller complimented her on the justice of the distinction.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • His manner towards the sex was remarkable for its insinuating character.

  • If he is of an insinuating address, he may get a glimpse of their daily life.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • I can turn a deaf ear to enticements the most alluring, and sounds the most insinuating.


    William Godwin

British Dictionary definitions for insinuating


  1. (may take a clause as object) to suggest by indirect allusion, hints, innuendo, etc
  2. (tr) to introduce subtly or deviously
  3. (tr) to cause (someone, esp oneself) to be accepted by gradual approaches or manoeuvres
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Derived Formsinsinuative or insinuatory, adjectiveinsinuator, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin insinuāre to wind one's way into, from in- ² + sinus curve
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 insinuating



1520s, from Latin insinuatus, past participle of insinuare "to throw in, push in, make a way; creep in, intrude, bring in by windings and curvings, wind one's way into," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + sinuare "to wind, bend, curve," from sinus "a curve, winding." Sense of "to introduce tortuously or indirectly" is from 1640s. Related: Insinuated; insinuating; insinuatingly.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper