- an indirect, covert, or helpful suggestion; clue: Give me a hint as to his identity.
- a very slight or hardly noticeable amount; soupçon: a hint of garlic in the salad dressing.
- perceived indication or suggestion; note; intimation: a hint of spring in the air.
- Obsolete. an occasion or opportunity.
verb (used with object)
- to give a hint of: gray skies hinting a possible snowfall.
verb (used without object)
- to make indirect suggestion or allusion; subtly imply (usually followed by at): The article hinted at corruption in the mayor’s office.
- a suggestion or implication given in an indirect or subtle mannerhe dropped a hint
- a helpful piece of advice or practical suggestion
- a small amount; trace
- (when intr, often foll by at; when tr, takes a clause as object) to suggest or imply indirectly
c.1600, apparently from obsolete hent, from Middle English hinten “to tell, inform” (c.1400), from Old English hentan “to seize,” from Proto-Germanic *hantijanan (cf. Gothic hinþan “to seize”), related to hunt (v.). Modern sense and spelling first attested in Shakespeare.
1640s, from hint (n.). Related: Hinted; hinting.
see take a hint.