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[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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for innuendos
  • Try reading through the comments again and see which side has the edge on slurs, labels, innuendos and no argument.
  • But there have been no innuendos, flirtations, or sweet nothings.
  • These languages do not lend themselves to innuendos and articulate constructions, rather aim at clarity.
  • Rather than trying to clean up their house, its officials are busy voicing innuendos against the news agency that broke the story.
  • It revels in the illicit behavior it condemns and takes pleasure in its own creepy innuendos.
  • Create means to get rid of rumors and innuendos and provide a hospital for all people.
  • When you do or don't respond to students' jokes and innuendos, you communicate values.
British Dictionary definitions for innuendos


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 innuendos



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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