verb (used with object), in·sin·u·at·ed, in·sin·u·at·ing.

  1. to suggest or hint slyly: He insinuated that they were lying.
  2. to instill or infuse subtly or artfully, as into the mind: to insinuate doubts through propaganda.
  3. to bring or introduce into a position or relation by indirect or artful methods: to insinuate oneself into favor.

verb (used without object), in·sin·u·at·ed, in·sin·u·at·ing.

  1. to make insinuations.


  1. (may take a clause as object) to suggest by indirect allusion, hints, innuendo, etc
  2. (tr) to introduce subtly or deviously
  3. (tr) to cause (someone, esp oneself) to be accepted by gradual approaches or manoeuvres

1520s, from Latin insinuatus, past participle of insinuare “to throw in, push in, make a way; creep in, intrude, bring in by windings and curvings, wind one’s way into,” from in- “in” (see in- (2)) + sinuare “to wind, bend, curve,” from sinus “a curve, winding.” Sense of “to introduce tortuously or indirectly” is from 1640s. Related: Insinuated; insinuating; insinuatingly.

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