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See more synonyms for insinuate on Thesaurus.com
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

Synonyms for insinuate

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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 for insinuative

charming, crawling, deferential, disarming, flattering, humble, obsequious, saccharine, serving, silken, smarmy, soft, suggestive, unctuous, sycophantic, toadying

Examples from the Web for insinuative

Historical Examples of insinuative

  • A voice, which was unctuous and insinuative, emanated from the figure.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • The little poet was as insinuative and volcanic (by turns) as ever.

  • The contractor had caught no sign revealing whether his insinuative words were having effect.

  • They form an agreeable contrast to the chaos of oppressive learning of the time, and have an insinuative air about them.

  • "I don't deny there are plenty of ghosts about," he answered with insinuative deference.

    The King of Schnorrers

    Israel Zangwill

British Dictionary definitions for insinuative


  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 for insinuate

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 insinuative



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