Innuendo

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Origin

Latin, by nodding, from innuere to nod to, make a sign to, from in- + nuere to nod; akin to Latin nutare to nod

Defiinitions

  • 1a : an oblique allusion : hint, insinuation; especially : a veiled or equivocal reflection on character or reputation
b : the use of such allusions <resorting to innuendo>

Description

An innuendo is an insinuation or intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging (also called insinuation), that works obliquely by allusion. In the latter sense, the intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one's words, taken literally, are innocent.

According to the Advanced Oxford Learner's Dictionary, an innuendo is "an indirect remark about somebody or something, usually suggesting something bad, mean or rude; the use of remarks like this: innuendoes about her private life or The song is full of sexual innuendo." The word is often used to express disapproval.

The term sexual innuendo has acquired a specific meaning, namely that of a "risque" double entendre by playing on a possibly sexual interpretation of an otherwise innocent uttering. For example: "We need to go deeper" can be seen as both a request for further inquiry on any given issue or a request to go deeper into an orifice. Alternatively the simple changing of the pronunciation of a word can be used to make it sound vulgar e.g. innuendo to "in-your-endo".

In the context of defamation law, an innuendo is the meaning borne by the form of words complained of.