[in-sin-yoo-ey-shuh n]


an indirect or covert suggestion or hint, especially of a derogatory nature: She made nasty insinuations about her rivals.
covert or artful suggestion or hinting, as of something implied: His methods of insinuation are most ingenious.
subtle or artful instillment into the mind.
the art or power of stealing into the affections and pleasing; ingratiation: He made his way by flattery and insinuation.
Archaic. a slow winding, worming, or stealing in.
Obsolete. an ingratiating act or speech.

Origin of insinuation

First recorded in 1520–30, insinuation is from the Latin word insinuātion- (stem of insinuātiō). See insinuate, -ion
Related formspre·in·sin·u·a·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for insinuation

innuendo, suggestion, hint

Examples from the Web for insinuation

Contemporary Examples of insinuation

Historical Examples of insinuation

  • Again that distasteful expression fraught with distrust and insinuation.


    W. A. Fraser

  • De Naarboveck did not seem to understand the insinuation conveyed.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • If she could repel Madame Beattie's insinuation, it must mean she had something on her side.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • He was an adept in the art of insinuation; besides that, he knew "every one."

    Luttrell Of Arran

    Charles James Lever

  • But she, too, was stung to wrath by the insinuation which his words contained.

    Kept in the Dark

    Anthony Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for insinuation



an indirect or devious hint or suggestion
the act or practice of insinuating
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 insinuation

1520s, from Latin insinuationem (nominative insinuatio) "entrance through a narrow way; an ingratiating oneself," noun of action from past participle stem of insinuare (see insinuate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper