Definition of hint in English:


Syllabification: hint
Pronunciation: /hint


  • 1A slight or indirect indication or suggestion: he has given no hint of his views
    More example sentences
    • Their hints at a possible agreement made reporters froth at the mouth and swat speculation back and forth between themselves.
    • Xil thought she detected hypnotic hints in the piece.
    • Suddenly the hints and puzzle pieces began to form a point and it hit me harder than falling ten stories off an apartment building.
  • 1.1A small piece of practical information or advice: handy hints about what to buy
    More example sentences
    • The course organiser provides practical hints to help break the routine, fight the cravings and stay positive through the whole process.
    • The trouble is that until this week the public have only received hints of the information underlying their leader's certainty.
    • The authors give practical hints on how to stage a coup, and consider what might happen if the military decided to take over in Britain.
    tip, suggestion, pointer, clue, guideline, recommendation; advice, help
    informal how-to
  • 1.2A very small trace of something: Randy smiled with a hint of mockery
    More example sentences
    • But we view our own political elites, fighting against them, with more than a hint of suspicion.
    • Team-work touched with a hint of madness is what seems to appeal, which is why Rodrigues has settled in so well.
    • On tasting you get a hint of ripe melon and then a rush of buttery tropical fruits bound with oak.
    trace, touch, suspicion, suggestion, dash, soupçon, tinge, modicum, whiff, taste, undertone
    informal smidgen, tad, speck


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  • 1Suggest or indicate something indirectly or covertly: there were those who hinted at doctored evidence [with clause]: Edwards has hinted that he will dispose of his majority shareholding
    More example sentences
    • So I wondered whether people were suggesting or hinting to me that I should step down.
    • I told him how my mom was hinting for me to offer them a place to live.
    • In adding this, Dr Hope is strongly hinting that he may yet change his mind - but he is also risking being accused of procrastination.
    imply, insinuate, intimate, suggest, indicate, signal; allude to, refer to, drive at, mean
    informal get at
  • 1.1 (hint at) (Of a thing) be a slight or possible indication of: the restrained fronts of the terraced houses only hinted at the wealth within
    More example sentences
    • It also needs to keep London and Dublin in line with a flash of thigh that hints at possible future breakthroughs.
    • This copy does more than hint at possible enjoyment, which is all that would be needed for a low-involvement decision.
    • If so, they rarely show it, although a few jump cuts in the sequences with Amin hint at possible difficulties.


drop a hint

see drop.

take a (or the) hint

Understand and act on a hint: she tried to put him off but he didn’t take the hint
More example sentences
  • Cloud took the hint and latched his arms around both my legs when I jumped.
  • Hilary kept at it, not taking the hint that Lavenna didn't want to talk about it.
  • Meeting Faolan's eye, I yawn suggestively, and he takes the hint.


early 17th century (in the sense 'occasion, opportunity'): apparently from obsolete hent 'grasp, get hold of', from Old English hentan, of Germanic origin; related to hunt. The basic notion is 'something that may be taken advantage of'.

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