Definition of insinuate in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘But the film doesn't make any derogatory remarks (or insinuate anything offensive) against women.’
    • ‘The latter is different: barbed, energetic, smarmy, loud, dirty, assertive, insinuating.’
    • ‘He was angry that Mr. Jacobs would even insinuate such a thing.’
    • ‘I've had patients insinuate something like that when we have to go through a few different blood pressure medications to find the right one for them.’
    • ‘Some actors I work with, guys that really aren't qualified, would tell you how to do something, or imply something, insinuate something.’
    • ‘I'm not insinuating anything, well; if I am it's just the truth.’
    • ‘And anyone reading the weasel words of doubt that are insinuated throughout this text can only have profound concern about the basis for which Britain is to go to war.’
    • ‘China does not prevent religious expression, as is insinuated in your article.’
    • ‘Are you insinuating something about garbage collectors?’
    • ‘I insinuated the only time anybody thought the team was going to win was in her dreams.’
    • ‘It is further insinuated by your article that our employees were ‘excavating a trench, using a backhoe.’’
    • ‘Instead it says to fairly represent all sides of a dispute by not making articles state, imply, or insinuate that only one side is correct.’
    • ‘Piper would never skip school, if that's what you're insinuating Dr. Gennaro.’
    • ‘He has implied it, insinuated it, hinted it, and intimated it, but he has not suggested it.’
    • ‘Look, not to insinuate anything, but do you realize that you've been talking about them the entire time?’
    • ‘But it appears to be afraid to tackle such issues head-on, and instead hints and insinuates at the possible problems and considerations.’
    • ‘I don't like what you're insinuating Maggie!’
    • ‘Natalia asked angrily, turning toward him and stopping her work, her eyes burning with intensity, appalled that he would even insinuate something like that.’
    • ‘I'm not trying to insinuate anything, but you know, they are from Texas…’
    • ‘I didn't think he'd been insinuating anything.’
    imply, suggest, hint, intimate, whisper, indicate, convey the impression, give a clue, give an inkling, allude to the fact, make reference to the fact, let it be known, give someone to understand, give someone to believe
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  • 2Maneuver oneself into (a position of favor or office) by subtle manipulation.

    ‘she seemed to be taking over, insinuating herself into the family’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Posing as an unrequited admirer of the daughter, Pattie, Martin insinuates his way into the Bates' home.’
    • ‘He was already insinuating himself into Brian's professional life for his own gain!’
    • ‘So, the degree to which outsiders can and should insinuate themselves into legally protected relationships becomes an important issue for psychiatry and other medical specialties.’
    • ‘While trying to blend in at Chrysler, Zetsche is slowly insinuating himself into Detroit's clubby community.’
    • ‘Lopez tries to find Dell, but ends up trying to insinuating himself into Dell's family and replace him.’
    • ‘Whatever nasty stuff has been going down in the town of Loomis gets worse as he insinuates himself into 12-year-old Charlie's life.’
    • ‘And fifteen years from now, once we have actually done those things, we will finally have the resources required to permit us to insinuate moles into their top brass.’
    • ‘Catholics had to be prevented from insinuating themselves into the apparatus of the state.’
    • ‘I mean that is - I think it's the height of irresponsibility for anybody to be insinuating themselves into this case who isn't one of the law enforcement agencies.’
    • ‘By insinuating himself into the French nobility, he systematically destroys the men who manipulated and enslaved him.’
    • ‘Manipulative and conniving, Evie has driven a wedge between Tracy and her mother, Melanie, while at the same time insinuating herself into Tracy's home and school life.’
    • ‘Eyeing his father's money with growing envy, his fourth son tried to and succeeded in insinuating himself into his father's favour.’
    • ‘More trouble comes in the form of Puja (Lucy Tulugarjuk, who now lives in Edmonton), Oki's flirtatious and manipulative sister, who insinuates herself into Atanarjuat's family.’
    • ‘Though he's not initially invited, a wild ruffian named Kikuchiyo insinuates himself into the ranks of the warrior class.’
    • ‘According to this, their operatives have insinuated themselves into many communities along Kenya's Indian Ocean coast.’
    • ‘By manipulating the Government, by insinuating themselves into Government positions they became bureaucrats and have done it through bureaucratic and administrative policies.’
    • ‘At every opportunity, Marita pretends to defend Catherine while insinuating herself into David's confidences.’
    • ‘They skillfully insinuated themselves within striking distance of their targets.’
    • ‘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.’
    worm one's way into, work one's way into, ingratiate oneself with, curry favour with
    foist oneself on, introduce oneself into, squeeze oneself into, edge one's way into
    infiltrate, invade, sneak into, intrude on, impinge on
    get in with, muscle in on
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    1. 2.1Slide (oneself or a thing) slowly and smoothly into a position.
      ‘the bugs insinuate themselves between one's skin and clothes’
      • ‘That Morris' own photography, like his writing, insinuated itself with considerable artistry into the vernacular culture he revered was a matter he preferred not to discuss.’
      • ‘‘Not many clubs allow you to bring your dogs,’ Auberon Waugh said with satisfaction as he patted a Labrador that had insinuated itself under our table.’
      • ‘He was clearly good at insinuating his ideas into some of the housemate's heads so that he could recruit them into his plan.’
      • ‘He insinuates a languor of sun-mist and lustre into his modish Arcadia: a region of roses, felicitously painted, and ruins sketched on his Italian journeys, all against the backdrops of the opera-ballets of his time.’
      • ‘Would someone please like to explain to me how this change has been insinuated into our Scottish system?’
      • ‘But I think the difference here is that the ads are insinuated into the content automagically, and the authors are not being paid to make the comments.’
      • ‘Musicians have the gift of melody, they can insinuate something into the culture.’
      • ‘It insinuates its genetic material into the cell and tricks its intricate reproductive machinery into assembling thousands of new viral particles, usually at the expense of the cell's own survival.’
      • ‘The inhumanity of the cyberworld and the robot seem to be insinuating their way into what we thought of as our ‘deepest’ humanity.’
      • ‘He played them brilliantly, without insinuating a trace of sinister charm or humour.’
      • ‘He manages to insinuate his arm, first around the back of the sofa and then, gradually, around her shoulders.’
      • ‘Tim said he also received some criticism for insinuating his personal problems into an official function.’
      • ‘The road insinuates itself along the cliffs and coves leading to Anglesea where I found Victoria's oddest golf course.’
      • ‘Show them that he is insinuating himself there.’
      • ‘The Saturday Show BBC1, 9pm Justin Timberlake slides in to insinuate himself on his new single.’
      • ‘It was thick and you could see, by the porch lights, wispy tendrils insinuating themselves around plants and patio furniture.’
      • ‘Using the threat of capital flight as a lever, international capital insinuates itself deeper and deeper into these economies.’
      • ‘The idea of providing black students with ‘role models’ is counterproductive because it insinuates the notion that you can be inspired only by people who look like you.’
      • ‘But evidence of how far Glesca has already insinuated itself in the English language was presented earlier this year when Home Counties girl Jade Goody made the word ‘minging’ a cult catchphrase.’
      • ‘In a world in which there are so many kinds of media, insinuating one's brand name into people's everyday lives via word of mouth has become an increasingly powerful force.’
      slide, slip, manoeuvre, insert, edge, work, move into position
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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.