December 08, 2012
innuendo (noun)
\in-yuh-WEN-doh\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a slight suggestion or hint; especially : a suggestion that hurts someone's reputation
How do you use it?
The senate candidate failed to dig up any evidence of wrongdoing by her opponent, so she resorted to rumor and innuendo in an attempt to win the election.
Are you a word wiz?

"Innuendo" is used generally to mean "a suggestion or hint." However, one field uses it in a very specific and technical way. In which of the following do you think you might find an "innuendo"?

The evidence points to D! In Medieval Latin, "innuendo" was used to introduce remarks inserted into a legal document. English law adopted the term to introduce explanatory remarks, and by the late 1600s, to refer to the remark itself. "Innuendo" is still sometimes used in legal cases involving libel and slander. As a term outside of the law, "innuendo" came to mean any indirect suggestion. Because such suggestions may cause harm, "innuendo" gained the meaning of "an insinuation that injures someone's reputation." "Innuendo" traces to "innuere," Medieval Latin for "to hint," from classical Latin for "to nod or make a sign to" a person.
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