Definition of hint in English:



  • 1A slight or indirect indication or suggestion.

    ‘he has given no hint of his views’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Suddenly the hints and puzzle pieces began to form a point and it hit me harder than falling ten stories off an apartment building.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Xil thought she detected hypnotic hints in the piece.’
    • ‘There was a hint from Burns that there can be too much information.’
    • ‘Any hint that nuclear energy might fill the void is treated as serious blasphemy.’
    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 small piece of practical information or advice.
      ‘handy hints about what to buy’
      • ‘The trouble is that until this week the public have only received hints of the information underlying their leader's certainty.’
      • ‘The book is clearly laid out and simple to read whilst the website offers some helpful hints and advice.’
      • ‘The course organiser provides practical hints to help break the routine, fight the cravings and stay positive through the whole process.’
      • ‘You'll also find full nutrition information, helpful preparation and usage hints and a section with entertaining learning games for kids.’
      • ‘But it was not all about picking up handy hints from the professionals.’
      • ‘If you want to try a craft you can buy supplies, with expert craftspeople on hand to pass out handy hints.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The site includes rules, game records, strategy hints and ordering information.’
      • ‘It's packed full with useful, real-life advice, hints and tips, clearly laid out and carefully explained.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Stuhlmueller provides us with many practical hints on how to read the psalms.’
      • ‘If you're looking for a web designer, then here's some hints and advice.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gil came to trade tips, hints and how-tos with other Regal owners.’
      • ‘And he's in with Kaplinsky, who might be able to give him some handy dancing hints.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Mine is a generation without old wives' tales or handy money-saving hints.’
      tip, suggestion, piece of advice, word of advice, pointer, clue, cue, guideline, recommendation
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    2. 1.2A very small trace of something.
      ‘Randy smiled with a hint of mockery’
      • ‘Chanelle replied quickly, a slight hint of hesitation in her voice.’
      • ‘Team-work touched with a hint of madness is what seems to appeal, which is why Rodrigues has settled in so well.’
      • ‘But we view our own political elites, fighting against them, with more than a hint of suspicion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On tasting you get a hint of ripe melon and then a rush of buttery tropical fruits bound with oak.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But he took his hand away, and she thought she saw his eyes shadow a bit with a hint of wistfulness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His hair was pitch black, his eyes were a dark brown with a slight hint of green.’
      • ‘Gray streaked her once brown hair, and the hints of wrinkles lined her face.’
      • ‘The audio, presented in its original mono, is quite good as well, with only a hint of residual hiss.’
      • ‘Algrim turned to him, red eyes blazing with rage and the slightest hint of wounded pain.’
      • ‘I would describe the flavor of the Picosito itself as a sweet and salty taste with a hint of spice.’
      • ‘It comes with rain-sensitive wipers, cruise control and lights which turn themselves on at the slightest hint of darkness.’
      • ‘It is strange sketch of the man; he seems rather inscrutable, save for a hint of suspicion.’
      • ‘When cooked, quince mellows to an amazing pineapple-like taste with a hint of tartness.’
      • ‘And, by the way, the name of these cookies is somewhat puzzling, as they don't contain even the slightest hint of a nut.’
      trace, touch, suspicion, suggestion, dash, soupçon, tinge, modicum, breath, whiff, taste, scent, whisper, undertone
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  • 1 Suggest 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’
    • ‘He never clearly stated his wish for the posts, only hinting he would not avoid responsibility, no matter how heavy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Costello toed the line, despite hinting that he wanted to take part.’
    • ‘Some officials are hinting at possible intervention in the currency markets.’
    • ‘But it is possible to hint at the outward influence of a writer such as Milosz.’
    • ‘What they have done, however, is to please the die-hard followers, while hinting at possible future directions.’
    • ‘The State Council this month also hinted at a possible increase in water charges.’
    • ‘In adding this, Dr Hope is strongly hinting that he may yet change his mind - but he is also risking being accused of procrastination.’
    • ‘With Pure Rock, Goon appears to hint at various possible directions to follow with future records.’
    • ‘Hazelton hinted at a possible return to the stage in the future.’
    • ‘Police however keep hinting that the fireworks could be cancelled if they don't get more resources to keep people in line.’
    • ‘Linnane, however, expressed disappointment over his dismissal and hinted at possible legal action.’
    • ‘I think Greg is a great character, and they keep hinting that he might become part of the ‘main team’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sampras hinted at possible retirement at a New York news conference immediately afterwards.’
    • ‘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.’
    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. 1.1(of a thing) be a slight or possible indication of.
      ‘the restrained fronts of the terraced houses only hinted at the wealth within’
      • ‘A page that hints at possibilities lets me remember only what I care to remember.’
      • ‘The car's flowing lines and sleek profile hint at Volkswagen's design influence.’
      • ‘This copy does more than hint at possible enjoyment, which is all that would be needed for a low-involvement decision.’
      • ‘The novel is full of vignettes that hint at possibilities left determinedly unexplored.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now this might seem to be hinting at the possibility of a unified man, but it does so by underlining an essential dualism.’


  • drop a hint

  • take a (or the) hint

    • Understand and act on a hint.

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