Definition of insinuate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈsɪnjʊeɪt/


[with object]
1Suggest or hint (something bad) in an indirect and unpleasant way: [with clause]: he was insinuating that she slept her way to the top (as adjective insinuating) dirty, insinuating laughter
More example sentences
  • He has implied it, insinuated it, hinted it, and intimated it, but he has not suggested it.
  • But it appears to be afraid to tackle such issues head-on, and instead hints and insinuates at the possible problems and considerations.
  • Some actors I work with, guys that really aren't qualified, would tell you how to do something, or imply something, insinuate something.
imply, suggest, hint, intimate, whisper, indicate, convey the impression, give a clue, give an inkling, allude to the fact, make reference to the fact, let it be known, give someone to understand, give someone to believe
informal make out, tip someone the wink
2 (insinuate oneself into) Manoeuvre oneself into (a favourable position) by subtle manipulation: he insinuated himself into the king’s confidence
More example sentences
  • By manipulating the Government, by insinuating themselves into Government positions they became bureaucrats and have done it through bureaucratic and administrative policies.
  • Claiming that even normal childhood behaviour is a mental ‘disorder’ and that drugs are the solution, psychiatrists and psychologists have insinuated themselves into positions of authority over these children.
  • Despite her artistic success and ability to insinuate herself into positions of power, however, Uma fails to maintain a stable alternative identity, even as Parvati.
worm one's way into, work one's way into, ingratiate oneself with, curry favour with;
foist oneself on, introduce oneself into, squeeze oneself into, edge one's way into;
infiltrate, invade, sneak into, intrude on, impinge on
informal get in with, muscle in on
3 [with object and adverbial of direction] Slide (oneself or a thing) slowly and smoothly into a particular place: I insinuated my shoulder in the gap
More example sentences
  • The Saturday Show BBC1, 9pm Justin Timberlake slides in to insinuate himself on his new single.
  • Show them that he is insinuating himself there.
  • It was thick and you could see, by the porch lights, wispy tendrils insinuating themselves around plants and patio furniture.
slide, slip, manoeuvre, insert, edge, work, move into position



Example sentences
  • He is nasty (and insinuatingly sympathetic), snarling with wit about disasters of transport and bodily malfunction.
  • He's helped by Gilberto Gil's insinuatingly seductive, subtly sinuous score, as he is by his noncliched casting of the chief role.
  • ‘I think I might be able to resist him now,’ she paused, an eyebrow raised insinuatingly.




Pronunciation: /ɪnˈsɪnjʊeɪtə/
Example sentences
  • The judges, juries and insinuators have spoken.
  • To these insinuators, all I can say is ‘don't judge me by your standards.’


Early 16th century (in the sense 'enter (a document) on the official register'): from Latin insinuat- 'introduced tortuously', from the verb insinuare, from in- 'in' + sinuare 'to curve'.

  • This word was first used in legal contexts in the sense ‘enter (a document) on the official register’. Latin insinuare ‘introduce tortuously’ is the source, from in- ‘in’ and sinuare ‘to curve’, from sinus ‘a bend’ found in the sine of mathematics, sinuous, and the sinus (all late 16th century). Nearly all the English senses were already in Latin.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|sinu|ate

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