• (RP, America) IPA: /ɪnˈsɪnjueɪt/

insinuate (insinuates, present participle insinuating; past and past participle insinuated)

  1. To hint; to suggest tacitly (usually something bad) while avoiding a direct statement.
    She insinuated that her friends had betrayed her.
  2. (rare) To creep, wind, or flow into; to enter gently, slowly, or imperceptibly, as into crevices.
    • The water easily insinuates itself into, and placidly distends, the vessels of vegetables.
  3. (figurative, by extension) To ingratiate; to obtain access to or introduce something by subtle, cunning or artful means.
    • 1995, Terry Pratchett, Maskerade, p. 242
      Nanny didn't so much enter places as insinuate herself; she had unconsciously taken a natural talent for liking people and developed it into an occult science.
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], chapter 3, in An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. […], London: […] Thomas Basset, […], OCLC 153628242 ↗:
      All the art of rhetoric, besides order and clearness, are for nothing else but to insinuate wrong ideas, move the passions, and thereby mislead the judgment.
    • Horace laughs to shame all follies and insinuates virtue, rather by familiar examples than by the severity of precepts.
    • He insinuated himself into the very good grace of the Duke of Buckingham.
    • 1817 December 31 (indicated as 1818), [Walter Scott], Rob Roy. [...] In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co. […]; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, OCLC 82790126 ↗:
      he insinuated himself into the confidence of one already so forlorn
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