Definition of insinuate in English:

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Pronunciation: /inˈsinyo͞oˌāt/


[with object]
1Suggest or hint (something bad or reprehensible) in an indirect and unpleasant way: [with clause]: he was insinuating that she had slept her way to the top
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, indicate, let it be known, give someone to understand
informal make out
2 (insinuate oneself into) Maneuver oneself into (a position of favor or office) by subtle manipulation: she seemed to be taking over, insinuating herself into the family
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, ingratiate oneself with, curry favor with;
foist oneself on, introduce oneself into, edge one's way into, insert oneself into;
infiltrate, invade, sneak into, maneuver oneself into, intrude on, impinge on
informal muscle in on
2.1Slide (oneself or a thing) slowly and smoothly into a position: the bugs insinuate themselves between one’s skin and clothes
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.



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: /inˈsinyəˌwādər/
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 (used in legal contexts in the sense 'enter (a document) in 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

Syllabification: in·sin·u·ate

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