Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To introduce or otherwise convey (a thought, for example) gradually and insidiously. See Synonyms at suggest.
  • transitive v. To introduce or insert (oneself) by subtle and artful means.
  • intransitive v. To make insinuations.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to creep, wind, or flow into; to enter gently, slowly, or imperceptibly, as into crevices
  • v. to ingratiate; to obtain access to or introduce something by subtle, cunning or artful means
  • v. to hint; to suggest tacitly and avoid a direct statement

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To introduce gently or slowly, as by a winding or narrow passage, or a gentle, persistent movement.
  • transitive v. To introduce artfully; to infuse gently; to instill.
  • transitive v. To hint; to suggest by remote allusion; -- often used derogatorily
  • transitive v. To push or work (one's self), as into favor; to introduce by slow, gentle, or artful means; to ingratiate; -- used reflexively.
  • intransitive v. To creep, wind, or flow in; to enter gently, slowly, or imperceptibly, as into crevices.
  • intransitive v. To ingratiate one's self; to obtain access or favor by flattery or cunning.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bring in tortuously or indirectly; introduce by devious means or by imperceptible degrees; worm in.
  • To hint obliquely; suggest indirectly, or by remote allusion.
  • Synonyms Intimate, Suggest, etc. See hint, transitive verb
  • To move tortuously; wind.
  • To creep or flow softly in; enter imperceptibly or stealthily.
  • To gain on the affections or confidence by cautious or artful means; ingratiate one's self.
  • To make hints or indirect suggestions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. introduce or insert (oneself) in a subtle manner
  • v. give to understand

Etymologies

Latin īnsinuāre, īnsinuāt- : in-, in; see in-2 + sinuāre, to curve (from sinus, curve).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin īnsinuō ("to push in, creep in, steal in"), from in ("in") + sinus ("a winding, bend, bay, fold, bosom") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Indeed, the last thing they want to insinuate is that the Democrats are altogether too solicitous of the interests of Latinos, because Republicans want to claim that they are the ones who really care about the things that Latinos care about.

    Balkinization

  • But one of the lessons that consumer hype tries to insinuate is that we must never rebel against the new, never even question it.

    Archive 2004-11-01

  • And if so, what follows? but that thy righteousness is more, and has been done in a fuller spirit than ever were thy sins: but thus to insinuate is to insinuate a lie; for there is no man, but while he is a sinner, sinneth with a more full spirit, than any good man can act righteousness withal.

    Works of John Bunyan — Volume 02

  • But even beyond that, look, even if that's a harsh comeback against David Letterman to kind of insinuate a certain pedophilic vibe to him, you can't really beg for mercy after you just told a joke about the woman's daughter.

    CNN Transcript Jun 14, 2009

  • I don't want to insinuate which is better for Mongolia.

    Andrew Racz: The Mongolian Wakeup Call

  • So, what McCain has to do is kind of insinuate himself into the conversation.

    CNN Transcript Mar 13, 2008

  • (I say "insinuate" because that is all that the likes of McIntyre has to do to send his groupies into paroxysms of accusation, slander, and denial -- while he, himself, tries to keep his hands clean of the mess.)

    DeSmogBlog - Clearing the PR Pollution that Clouds Climate Science

  • I didn't disparage your daughter's accomplishment or "insinuate" anything about her --- unlike your own unfortunate "douchebag" comment --- but tried to share our own family's experience in the wonderful world of spelling bees.

    Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle

  • What’s more, Wemple and Cherkis found “as least two experienced White House reporters” willing to kind of insinuate that Waas made the story up as long as they didn’t need to, you know, go on the record and put their names and reputations on the line.

    Matthew Yglesias » Who Is Murray Waas?

  • Yo, FVNY, you know with a name like Teabaggers, I wonder if TEH ZITARIANS might mistake the purpose of your group … of course the purpose of TEH TEABAGGERS is to teabag the whole political process, but they might insinuate that you want to do so in the sexual manner …

    Think Progress » At Least 16 Tea Party Activists Step Up To Challenge Top Republican Incumbents And Recruits

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