noun, plural in·nu·en·dos, in·nu·en·does.

  1. an indirect intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature.
  2. Law.
    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.

noun plural -dos or -does

  1. an indirect or subtle reference, esp one made maliciously or indicating criticism or disapproval; insinuation
  2. law (in pleading) a word introducing an explanatory phrase, usually in parenthesis
  3. 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

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.

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