An insinuation is a sly way of saying something, usually something insulting. It can also be a way of worming your way into a group or situation.

"You're dumb!" is an insult. An insinuation is different: it's a way of indirectly saying something. Insinuation evolved from the Latin insinuationem, meaning "entrance through a narrow way.” So an insinuation is like an insult that sneaks in the back door. Mentioning that your cousin could try harder in school could be an insinuation that your cousin’s lazy. Another kind of insinuation is when someone, often through flattery, gets herself accepted by others. Both kinds of insinuations are sneaky.

Definitions of insinuation

n an indirect (and usually malicious) implication

Type of:
an accusation that brings into intimate and usually incriminating connection

n the act of gaining acceptance or affection for yourself by persuasive and subtle blandishments

“she refused to use insinuation in order to gain favor”
Type of:
blandishment, wheedling
the act of urging by means of teasing or flattery

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