"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[in-yoo-en-doh] /ˌɪn yuˈɛn doʊ/
noun, plural innuendos, innuendoes.
an indirect intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature.
  1. a parenthetic explanation or specification in a pleading.
  2. (in an action for slander or libel) the explanation and elucidation of the words alleged to be defamatory.
  3. the word or expression thus explained.
Origin of innuendo
1555-65; < Latin: a hint, literally, by signaling, ablative of innuendum, gerund of innuere to signal, equivalent to in- in-2 + nuere to nod
1. insinuation, imputation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for innuendo
  • And getting behind the action is sometimes the key to pulling off this little feat of visual innuendo.
  • Their entire existence is based on lies, innuendo and a complete misreading of law.
  • But you've already damned yourself by attempting to get your way through unjustified psychological innuendo.
  • Some people have a resistance to innuendo and to rumor, and some people have absolutely no immunity to it.
  • Stock fluctuations based on rumor and innuendo are a constant source of aggravation.
  • Rather, he relies on innuendo to convey what is ultimately a difference of opinion.
  • There is no point in replying to this kind of innuendo.
  • For the biographical study, whose integrity and serious import cannot be questioned, is flawed by foggy psychological innuendo.
  • Consequently this column will inform you about players, trends, rumor and innuendo and will give you a big emphasis on prospects.
  • Grand jury secrecy protects the uncharged from the innuendo that tends to arise from their having been investigated.
British Dictionary definitions for innuendo


noun (pl) -dos, -does
an indirect or subtle reference, esp one made maliciously or indicating criticism or disapproval; insinuation
(law) (in pleading) a word introducing an explanatory phrase, usually in parenthesis
(law, in an action for defamation)
  1. an explanation of the construction put upon words alleged to be defamatory where the defamatory meaning is not apparent
  2. the words thus explained
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, literally: by hinting, from innuendum, gerund of innuere to convey by a nod, from in-² + nuere to nod
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for innuendo

1670s, "oblique hint, indiscreet suggestion," usually a deprecatory one, from Latin innuendo "by meaning, pointing to," literally "giving a nod to," ablative of gerund of innuere "to mean, signify," literally "to nod to," from in- "at" + nuere "to nod" (see numinous). Originally a legal phrase (1560s) from Medieval Latin, with the sense of "to wit." It often introduced the derogatory meaning alleged in libel cases, which influenced its broader meaning. As a verb, from 1706.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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