an intimate friend or associate, especially a confidant.

Origin of intimate

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

Synonyms for intimate

1. dear. See familiar. 3. privy, secret. 8. exacting, thorough. 13. crony.



verb (used with object), in·ti·mat·ed, in·ti·mat·ing.

to indicate or make known indirectly; hint; imply; suggest.
Archaic. to make known; announce.

Origin of intimate

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

Synonyms for intimate

1. See hint. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intimates

Contemporary Examples of intimates

  • German intimates company Blush Berlin mentioned Snowden and the NSA in a playful new promotion.

  • So great and effective was the opposition of Freud and his intimates, however, that the book never appeared in public view.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Real Freud Revealed

    John Kerr

    November 25, 2011

  • In truth, intimates often feel excluded from your professional life, unaware your intention is to not bore or bother them.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What the Stars Hold for Your Week

    Starsky + Cox

    June 19, 2011

  • Instead, check out Sutherland's Christmas moment of self-awareness, in which he intimates the true source of his debauchery.

    The Daily Beast logo
    When Celebs Get Wasted

    Gina Piccalo

    December 4, 2010

  • Her Intimates line of hosiery was also innovative in its technology and color palette.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Donna's Day

    Kate Betts

    September 11, 2010

Historical Examples of intimates

  • 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




characterized by a close or warm personal relationshipan intimate friend
deeply personal, private, or secret
(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
having a friendly, warm, or informal atmospherean intimate nightclub
of or relating to the essential part or nature of something; intrinsic
denoting the informal second person of verbs and pronouns in French and other languages


a close friend
Derived Formsintimately, adverbintimateness, noun

Word Origin for intimate

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



verb (tr; may take a clause as object)

to hint; suggest
to proclaim; make known
Derived Formsintimater, noun

Word Origin for intimate

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.



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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper