Definition of hint in English:

hint

noun

  • 1A slight or indirect indication or suggestion:

    ‘he has given no hint of his views’
    • ‘Suddenly the hints and puzzle pieces began to form a point and it hit me harder than falling ten stories off an apartment building.’
    • ‘Their hints at a possible agreement made reporters froth at the mouth and swat speculation back and forth between themselves.’
    • ‘I like all those others but Songs From Low Story is the finest piece of alt-country - with hints of the circus - I've heard for five years.’
    • ‘They give us hints to information that could be useful and they inspire us to find it.’
    • ‘Don't be scared by the test me step though, as it is more like a ‘practice me’ because you get clues and hints as soon as you take a wrong step.’
    • ‘Xil thought she detected hypnotic hints in the piece.’
    • ‘Any hint that nuclear energy might fill the void is treated as serious blasphemy.’
    • ‘Sugar cannot decide if it is meant to be darkly surreal, a cheesy psychological horror movie, or a piece of modern art; there are no obvious hints.’
    • ‘There was a hint from Burns that there can be too much information.’
    clue, inkling, suggestion, indication, indicator, sign, signal, pointer, intimation, insinuation, innuendo, mention, allusion, whisper, a word to the wise
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A very small trace of something:
      ‘Randall smiled with a hint of mockery’
      • ‘There was a hint of his own scent there as well but it was very faint and he wasn't at all sure his nose wasn't misleading him.’
      • ‘But we view our own political elites, fighting against them, with more than a hint of suspicion.’
      • ‘His hair was pitch black, his eyes were a dark brown with a slight hint of green.’
      • ‘I have examined post-Honey photographs of Hipgrave and have yet to see the slightest hint of unsightly stretch marks.’
      • ‘The kids have scoured the school grounds and even the slightest hint of litter has been cleared away to leave the place gleaming.’
      • ‘The audio, presented in its original mono, is quite good as well, with only a hint of residual hiss.’
      • ‘And, by the way, the name of these cookies is somewhat puzzling, as they don't contain even the slightest hint of a nut.’
      • ‘It comes with rain-sensitive wipers, cruise control and lights which turn themselves on at the slightest hint of darkness.’
      • ‘Chanelle replied quickly, a slight hint of hesitation in her voice.’
      • ‘On tasting you get a hint of ripe melon and then a rush of buttery tropical fruits bound with oak.’
      • ‘Gray streaked her once brown hair, and the hints of wrinkles lined her face.’
      • ‘Their New Year starts later than ours, when the first hints of spring are stirring and energy levels are beginning to pick up.’
      • ‘But he took his hand away, and she thought she saw his eyes shadow a bit with a hint of wistfulness.’
      • ‘Algrim turned to him, red eyes blazing with rage and the slightest hint of wounded pain.’
      • ‘My main gripe is that hardly any of the short-list have been able to infuse their performances with even the slightest hint of emotion.’
      • ‘I can take their advice on issues I raise, and they can suggest options without the slightest hint of offence if I decline.’
      • ‘Team-work touched with a hint of madness is what seems to appeal, which is why Rodrigues has settled in so well.’
      • ‘I would describe the flavor of the Picosito itself as a sweet and salty taste with a hint of spice.’
      • ‘When cooked, quince mellows to an amazing pineapple-like taste with a hint of tartness.’
      • ‘It is strange sketch of the man; he seems rather inscrutable, save for a hint of suspicion.’
      trace, touch, suspicion, suggestion, dash, soupçon, tinge, modicum, breath, whiff, taste, scent, whisper, undertone
      View synonyms
  • 2A small piece of practical information or advice:

    ‘handy hints on saving energy in your home’
    • ‘It's packed full with useful, real-life advice, hints and tips, clearly laid out and carefully explained.’
    • ‘But hopefully I've given you some useful hints and pointers to more complete sources of information.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mine is a generation without old wives' tales or handy money-saving hints.’
    • ‘The book is clearly laid out and simple to read whilst the website offers some helpful hints and advice.’
    • ‘You'll also find full nutrition information, helpful preparation and usage hints and a section with entertaining learning games for kids.’
    • ‘Handy hints are given on what to do should, for example, pests get into the compost heap.’
    • ‘Players who have no stones left must not give advice or hints as to the play, but they are allowed to point out mistakes in play.’
    • ‘And he's in with Kaplinsky, who might be able to give him some handy dancing hints.’
    • ‘Gil came to trade tips, hints and how-tos with other Regal owners.’
    • ‘The site includes rules, game records, strategy hints and ordering information.’
    • ‘Stuhlmueller provides us with many practical hints on how to read the psalms.’
    • ‘You just can't help but replay the scenes to yourself, trying to piece all the clues and subtle hints together.’
    • ‘Edith Bowman reveals why the festival is special to her, and shares handy hints and her pick of this year's performers’
    • ‘You got a lot of helpful hints in here for folks - real practical stuff.’
    • ‘If you want to try a craft you can buy supplies, with expert craftspeople on hand to pass out handy hints.’
    • ‘If you're looking for a web designer, then here's some hints and advice.’
    • ‘The trouble is that until this week the public have only received hints of the information underlying their leader's certainty.’
    • ‘But it was not all about picking up handy hints from the professionals.’
    • ‘The course organiser provides practical hints to help break the routine, fight the cravings and stay positive through the whole process.’
    tip, suggestion, piece of advice, word of advice, pointer, clue, cue, guideline, recommendation
    View synonyms

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 Suggest or indicate something indirectly or covertly:

    ‘the Minister hinted at a possible change of heart’
    [with clause] ‘he hinted that the sale might be delayed’
    • ‘The State Council this month also hinted at a possible increase in water charges.’
    • ‘What they have done, however, is to please the die-hard followers, while hinting at possible future directions.’
    • ‘But it is possible to hint at the outward influence of a writer such as Milosz.’
    • ‘Police however keep hinting that the fireworks could be cancelled if they don't get more resources to keep people in line.’
    • ‘I think Greg is a great character, and they keep hinting that he might become part of the ‘main team’.’
    • ‘Carson offers sketches of songs, hints at melodies and suggests musical themes, but nothing is forced onto the listener.’
    • ‘With Pure Rock, Goon appears to hint at various possible directions to follow with future records.’
    • ‘In adding this, Dr Hope is strongly hinting that he may yet change his mind - but he is also risking being accused of procrastination.’
    • ‘Costello toed the line, despite hinting that he wanted to take part.’
    • ‘So I wondered whether people were suggesting or hinting to me that I should step down.’
    • ‘Sampras hinted at possible retirement at a New York news conference immediately afterwards.’
    • ‘Linnane, however, expressed disappointment over his dismissal and hinted at possible legal action.’
    • ‘I told him how my mom was hinting for me to offer them a place to live.’
    • ‘She is not certain she wants to float the company, but hints at a possible buyout or merger in the future.’
    • ‘He never clearly stated his wish for the posts, only hinting he would not avoid responsibility, no matter how heavy.’
    • ‘Hazelton hinted at a possible return to the stage in the future.’
    • ‘Polluters use the term freely, hinting about a dark cabal of devious greens plying the fear trade for personal gain.’
    • ‘So, in other words, Wolf, he is basically saying that he is hinting that he should be going back to power.’
    • ‘It expects to add a consumables store soon, with Price hinting at a possible acquisition in that space.’
    • ‘Some officials are hinting at possible intervention in the currency markets.’
    imply, insinuate, intimate, suggest, indicate, signal, whisper, give a clue, give an inkling, let it be known, allude to the fact, make a reference to the fact, refer to the fact, give someone to understand, give someone to believe
    allude to, refer to, drive at, mean
    get at
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1hint at Be a slight or possible indication of:
      ‘the restrained fronts of the terraced houses only hinted at the wealth within’
      • ‘The header of the site has a blue and red design that hints at a furling flag.’
      • ‘If so, they rarely show it, although a few jump cuts in the sequences with Amin hint at possible difficulties.’
      • ‘In addition, this hints at the possibility that the tailenders scored faster than Pietersen!’
      • ‘They court according to an intricate and stylised code of formality and propriety that hints at a wealth of buried emotion.’
      • ‘This copy does more than hint at possible enjoyment, which is all that would be needed for a low-involvement decision.’
      • ‘A page that hints at possibilities lets me remember only what I care to remember.’
      • ‘Now this might seem to be hinting at the possibility of a unified man, but it does so by underlining an essential dualism.’
      • ‘It also needs to keep London and Dublin in line with a flash of thigh that hints at possible future breakthroughs.’
      • ‘The novel is full of vignettes that hint at possibilities left determinedly unexplored.’
      • ‘The car's flowing lines and sleek profile hint at Volkswagen's design influence.’

Phrases

  • take a (or the) hint

    • Understand and act on what someone is implying or suggesting:

      ‘she tried to put him off but he didn't take the hint’
      • ‘He took the hint, but sadly, things didn't get any better.’
      • ‘When the behavior continued, the compliance department took the hint and kept quiet.’
      • ‘Cloud took the hint and latched his arms around both my legs when I jumped.’
      • ‘I took the hint and cut back on the hooch, and pretty soon the headache faded.’
      • ‘Meeting Faolan's eye, I yawn suggestively, and he takes the hint.’
      • ‘He took the hint and headed in a westerly direction.’
      • ‘As one should never address a surgeon directly in Spain, the columnist suggests trying to sing, hoping the surgeon takes the hint.’
      • ‘Logan took the hint and gave a small smile of understanding.’
      • ‘Many Vietnamese tourist attractions took the hint and prevented Chinese visitors from attending their venues.’
      • ‘Hilary kept at it, not taking the hint that Lavenna didn't want to talk about it.’
      understand, get the point, get the drift, comprehend
      View synonyms

Origin

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’.

Pronunciation

hint

/hɪnt/