• synonyms


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  1. associated in close personal relations: an intimate friend.
  2. characterized by or involving warm friendship or a personally close or familiar association or feeling: an intimate greeting.
  3. very private; closely personal: one's intimate affairs.
  4. characterized by or suggesting an atmosphere conducive to privacy or intimacy; warmly cozy: an intimate little café where we can relax and talk.
  5. (of an association, knowledge, understanding, etc.) arising from close personal connection or familiar experience.
  6. engaged in or characterized by sexual relations: too young to handle an intimate relationship.
  7. (of women's clothing) worn next to the skin, under street or outer garments: a store that sells intimate apparel.
  8. detailed; deep: a more intimate analysis.
  9. showing a close union or combination of particles or elements: an intimate mixture.
  10. inmost; deep within.
  11. of, relating to, or characteristic of the inmost or essential nature; intrinsic: the intimate structure of an organism.
  12. of, relating to, or existing in the inmost depths of the mind: intimate beliefs.
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  1. an intimate friend or associate, especially a confidant.
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Origin of intimate1

1600–10; < Latin intim(us) a close friend (noun use of the adj.; see intima) + -ate1
Related formsin·ti·mate·ly, adverbin·ti·mate·ness, noun


See more synonyms for intimate on Thesaurus.com
1. dear. See familiar. 3. privy, secret. 8. exacting, thorough. 13. crony.


verb (used with object), in·ti·mat·ed, in·ti·mat·ing.
  1. to indicate or make known indirectly; hint; imply; suggest.
  2. Archaic. to make known; announce.
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Origin of intimate2

1530–40; < Late Latin intimātus, past participle of intimāre to impress (upon), make known, equivalent to intim(us) inmost (see intima) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsin·ti·mat·er, nounin·ti·ma·tion, nounpre·in·ti·ma·tion, nounqua·si-in·ti·mat·ed, adjectiveun·in·ti·mat·ed, adjective
Can be confusedintimate intimidate


See more synonyms for intimate on Thesaurus.com
1. See hint.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for intimates

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • For his name was Alexander, and he was called Tom by arrangement with the most familiar of his intimates.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • "They certainly do call me that—my intimates, at least," she added with a touch of malice.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • To his intimates he appeared as a friend in need who is a friend indeed.



  • He made a jest of the affair, and invited his intimates to laugh with him.

  • But his mode of dealing with his intimates has another aspect.

British Dictionary definitions for intimates


  1. characterized by a close or warm personal relationshipan intimate friend
  2. deeply personal, private, or secret
  3. (often postpositive foll by with) euphemistic having sexual relations (with)
    1. (postpositive foll by with)having a deep or unusual knowledge (of)
    2. (of knowledge) deep; extensive
  4. having a friendly, warm, or informal atmospherean intimate nightclub
  5. of or relating to the essential part or nature of something; intrinsic
  6. denoting the informal second person of verbs and pronouns in French and other languages
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  1. a close friend
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Derived Formsintimately, adverbintimateness, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin intimus very close friend, from (adj): innermost, deepest, from intus within


verb (tr; may take a clause as object)
  1. to hint; suggest
  2. to proclaim; make known
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Derived Formsintimater, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Late Latin intimāre to proclaim, from Latin intimus innermost
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 intimates



1630s, "closely acquainted, very familiar," from Late Latin intimatus, past participle of intimare "make known, announce, impress," from Latin intimus "inmost" (adj.), "close friend" (n.), superlative of in "in" (see in- (2)). Used euphemistically in reference to women's underwear from 1904. Related: Intimately.

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"suggest indirectly," 1530s, back-formation from intimation, or else from Late Latin intimatus, past participle of intimare. Related: Intimated; intimating.

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1650s, "person with whom one is intimate," from intimate (adj.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper