1. an indirect, covert, or helpful suggestion; clue: Give me a hint as to his identity.
  2. a very slight or hardly noticeable amount; soupçon: a hint of garlic in the salad dressing.
  3. perceived indication or suggestion; note; intimation: a hint of spring in the air.
  4. Obsolete. an occasion or opportunity.

verb (used with object)

  1. to give a hint of: gray skies hinting a possible snowfall.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make indirect suggestion or allusion; subtly imply (usually followed by at): The article hinted at corruption in the mayor’s office.


  1. a suggestion or implication given in an indirect or subtle mannerhe dropped a hint
  2. a helpful piece of advice or practical suggestion
  3. a small amount; trace


  1. (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.

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