Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-yu-wen-do Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Suggestive hint, oblique allusion, subtle indiscreet insinuation.

Notes: Don't forget to double the first N but not the second in this word. The plural is innuendos without the E. Because of the foreign ending on O, this word has remained a lexical orphan since its introduction to English in the 16th century.

In Play: Innuendos often refer to sexual matters: "June McBride has distanced herself from Phil Anders because of his constant sexual innuendos." Here is a recent example of an innuendo in a sentence using the word: "Corry Publican claimed his opponent 'monkeyed up' his last job, an innuendo referring to his opponent's race."

Word History: Today's Good Word is Latin innuendo "pointing to with the head, nodding toward". It is the ablative of the gerund for innuere "to signify, nod toward", based on in "in, on, at" + nuere "to nod". Nuere seems to come from a PIE word, neu- "to nod", source also of Greek neuein "to nod" and Russian nukat' "to urge". English has another word based on neu-, numinous "divine, spiritual", from "divine approval by nodding of the head". This PIE word seems not to have found its way into any Germanic language except by borrowing. (Gratitude by innuendo will not do to thank Rob Towart for suggesting, among his many great suggestions, today's excellent if subtle Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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