Definition of hint in English:



  • 1A slight or indirect indication or suggestion.

    ‘he has given no hint of his views’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was a hint from Burns that there can be too much information.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They give us hints to information that could be useful and they inspire us to find it.’
    clue, inkling, suggestion, indication, indicator, sign, signal, pointer, intimation, insinuation, innuendo, mention, allusion, whisper, a word to the wise
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    1. 1.1A very small trace of something.
      ‘Randall smiled with a hint of mockery’
      • ‘Chanelle replied quickly, a slight hint of hesitation in her voice.’
      • ‘I can take their advice on issues I raise, and they can suggest options without the slightest hint of offence if I decline.’
      • ‘Their New Year starts later than ours, when the first hints of spring are stirring and energy levels are beginning to pick up.’
      • ‘The audio, presented in its original mono, is quite good as well, with only a hint of residual hiss.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When cooked, quince mellows to an amazing pineapple-like taste with a hint of tartness.’
      • ‘The kids have scoured the school grounds and even the slightest hint of litter has been cleared away to leave the place gleaming.’
      • ‘And, by the way, the name of these cookies is somewhat puzzling, as they don't contain even the slightest hint of a nut.’
      • ‘On tasting you get a hint of ripe melon and then a rush of buttery tropical fruits bound with oak.’
      • ‘I have examined post-Honey photographs of Hipgrave and have yet to see the slightest hint of unsightly stretch marks.’
      • ‘Gray streaked her once brown hair, and the hints of wrinkles lined her face.’
      • ‘But he took his hand away, and she thought she saw his eyes shadow a bit with a hint of wistfulness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Team-work touched with a hint of madness is what seems to appeal, which is why Rodrigues has settled in so well.’
      • ‘His hair was pitch black, his eyes were a dark brown with a slight hint of green.’
      • ‘It comes with rain-sensitive wipers, cruise control and lights which turn themselves on at the slightest hint of darkness.’
      • ‘I would describe the flavor of the Picosito itself as a sweet and salty taste with a hint of spice.’
      • ‘It is strange sketch of the man; he seems rather inscrutable, save for a hint of suspicion.’
      • ‘Algrim turned to him, red eyes blazing with rage and the slightest hint of wounded pain.’
      • ‘But we view our own political elites, fighting against them, with more than a hint of suspicion.’
      trace, touch, suspicion, suggestion, dash, soupçon, tinge, modicum, breath, whiff, taste, scent, whisper, undertone
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  • 2A small piece of practical information or advice.

    ‘handy hints on saving energy in your home’
    • ‘Gil came to trade tips, hints and how-tos with other Regal owners.’
    • ‘Edith Bowman reveals why the festival is special to her, and shares handy hints and her pick of this year's performers’
    • ‘Handy hints are given on what to do should, for example, pests get into the compost heap.’
    • ‘You got a lot of helpful hints in here for folks - real practical stuff.’
    • ‘Mine is a generation without old wives' tales or handy money-saving hints.’
    • ‘If you're looking for a web designer, then here's some hints and advice.’
    • ‘If you want to try a craft you can buy supplies, with expert craftspeople on hand to pass out handy hints.’
    • ‘It's packed full with useful, real-life advice, hints and tips, clearly laid out and carefully explained.’
    • ‘You just can't help but replay the scenes to yourself, trying to piece all the clues and subtle hints together.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But it was not all about picking up handy hints from the professionals.’
    • ‘You'll also find full nutrition information, helpful preparation and usage hints and a section with entertaining learning games for kids.’
    • ‘The trouble is that until this week the public have only received hints of the information underlying their leader's certainty.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The site includes rules, game records, strategy hints and ordering information.’
    • ‘And he's in with Kaplinsky, who might be able to give him some handy dancing hints.’
    • ‘The course organiser provides practical hints to help break the routine, fight the cravings and stay positive through the whole process.’
    • ‘The book is clearly laid out and simple to read whilst the website offers some helpful hints and advice.’
    • ‘Stuhlmueller provides us with many practical hints on how to read the psalms.’
    • ‘But hopefully I've given you some useful hints and pointers to more complete sources of information.’
    tip, suggestion, piece of advice, word of advice, pointer, clue, cue, guideline, recommendation
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  • 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’
    • ‘Some officials are hinting at possible intervention in the currency markets.’
    • ‘In adding this, Dr Hope is strongly hinting that he may yet change his mind - but he is also risking being accused of procrastination.’
    • ‘Hazelton hinted at a possible return to the stage in the future.’
    • ‘So, in other words, Wolf, he is basically saying that he is hinting that he should be going back to power.’
    • ‘Linnane, however, expressed disappointment over his dismissal and hinted at possible legal action.’
    • ‘It expects to add a consumables store soon, with Price hinting at a possible acquisition in that space.’
    • ‘With Pure Rock, Goon appears to hint at various possible directions to follow with future records.’
    • ‘He never clearly stated his wish for the posts, only hinting he would not avoid responsibility, no matter how heavy.’
    • ‘Costello toed the line, despite hinting that he wanted to take part.’
    • ‘But it is possible to hint at the outward influence of a writer such as Milosz.’
    • ‘Carson offers sketches of songs, hints at melodies and suggests musical themes, but nothing is forced onto the listener.’
    • ‘So I wondered whether people were suggesting or hinting to me that I should step down.’
    • ‘Polluters use the term freely, hinting about a dark cabal of devious greens plying the fear trade for personal gain.’
    • ‘Sampras hinted at possible retirement at a New York news conference immediately afterwards.’
    • ‘Police however keep hinting that the fireworks could be cancelled if they don't get more resources to keep people in line.’
    • ‘I told him how my mom was hinting for me to offer them a place to live.’
    • ‘The State Council this month also hinted at a possible increase in water charges.’
    • ‘I think Greg is a great character, and they keep hinting that he might become part of the ‘main team’.’
    • ‘She is not certain she wants to float the company, but hints at a possible buyout or merger in the future.’
    • ‘What they have done, however, is to please the die-hard followers, while hinting at possible future directions.’
    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
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    1. 1.1Be a slight or possible indication of.
      ‘the restrained fronts of the terraced houses only hinted at the wealth within’
      • ‘It also needs to keep London and Dublin in line with a flash of thigh that hints at possible future breakthroughs.’
      • ‘The header of the site has a blue and red design that hints at a furling flag.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If so, they rarely show it, although a few jump cuts in the sequences with Amin hint at possible difficulties.’
      • ‘The novel is full of vignettes that hint at possibilities left determinedly unexplored.’
      • ‘Now this might seem to be hinting at the possibility of a unified man, but it does so by underlining an essential dualism.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The car's flowing lines and sleek profile hint at Volkswagen's design influence.’


  • 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’
      • ‘Meeting Faolan's eye, I yawn suggestively, and he takes the hint.’
      • ‘Hilary kept at it, not taking the hint that Lavenna didn't want to talk about it.’
      • ‘I took the hint and cut back on the hooch, and pretty soon the headache faded.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Logan took the hint and gave a small smile of understanding.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many Vietnamese tourist attractions took the hint and prevented Chinese visitors from attending their venues.’
      understand, get the point, get the drift, comprehend
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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’.