Innuendo Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

The humble eggplant emoji — aka the “purple vegetable” emoji — is a realistic cartoon of a long, purple eggplant with a green leafy stem. 

While it’s commonly used when referring to the actual veggie, the eggplant emoji has been infamously repurposed by social media culture. It’s now trending as the unofficial emoji that represents the not-so-humble penis. In other words, it’s a sexual innuendo. 

Wondering what the word innuendo means? Not to worry; The Word Counter is here to help. Read on as we explore this popular term to uncover its definition, origin, usage, and more. Are you ready? 

Let’s dive in.  

What Is the Definition of Innuendo?

/ˌɪn.juˈen.doʊ/ /ˌɪn.juˈen.dəʊ/ ˌɪn.juˈen.dəʊ / plural innuendos or innuendoes

According to the Collins Dictionary, the word innuendo (in-YOO-en-doe) can be defined as an indirect reference to something rude or unpleasant — especially of a disparaging or derogatory nature. 

Our word of the day can also be used in lawsuits for defamation (libel and slander), where it simply means an indirect remark. It shows that the plaintiff had poor statements made about them and that the statements were defamatory. 

In other words, “innuendo” is the plaintiff’s explanation of a statement’s defamatory meaning when that meaning isn’t apparent from the statement’s face. However, the true meaning would be understood by those hearing it based on certain knowledge.

What’s the Difference Between Innuendo and Double Entendre?

A double entendre is a figure of speech that could have two different meanings. It could also be a phrase that can be interpreted in two different ways. One of these meanings is usually humorous, bawdy, or even a bit risque. 

That said, an innuendo is different in that it only has one meaning, whereas double entendres have two. 

What Is a Sexual Innuendo?

Simply put, sexual innuendo is any word or phrase with a double meaning that hints at sex. It’s a type of linguistic joke — usually a pun.

With this definition in mind, here are a few examples of innuendos:

  • I heard Tammy got “extra help” on the test today. (Tammy cheated on the test)
  • It seems like Bill and Janet have been spending quite a bit of time together lately (Bill and Janet are secretly dating)
  • Brock is so brave for wearing such a vintage sweatshirt (Brock’s sweatshirt is old and ugly)

What Is the Word Origin of Innuendo?

The word innuendo derives from the Latin verb innuere as well as the Latin innuendum, meaning “to point or nod” or “to hint by signaling.” In Latin, the use of innuendo is slightly grammatically different than in English. The Latin innuendō is a gerund.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Innuendo?

To further your understanding of the word innuendo, it can be especially helpful to review its synonyms and antonyms. 

A synonym is one or two words (or phrases) that have the same — or nearly the same — meaning. You can find them in a thesaurus. Synonyms of innuendo include:

  • Insinuation 
  • Defamation 
  • Intimation
  • Intimate 
  • Suggestion 
  • Hint
  • Aspersion
  • Beckon
  • Reference
  • Whisper
  • Overtone
  • Imputation

In contrast, an antonym is a word that has the exact opposite of another word. Antonyms of innuendo include some options from this word list:

  • Evidence
  • Proof
  • Affirmation
  • Confirmation
  • Verification
  • Facts
  • Authentication
  • Validation
  • Documentation 

How Can You Use Innuendo in a Sentence?

Now that you’re better acquainted with the meaning behind innuendo, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to the test! We invite you to take a couple of minutes quizzing yourself to see how many sentences you can conjure up using our word of the day. 

Not sure where to start? Here are a few example sentences for you to review below:

“I don’t like reading news articles from The Sun Daily because the reporters tend to base their stories on rumors, speculation, and innuendo.”

“Matt offered an innuendo about the drinking problem, but it only seemed to make things worse.”

“The defense relied on loaded questions, innuendo, and smears.”

“After they hurled insults, innuendo, and threats, I decided to take the reporters to court.”

“The election campaign was flawed by rumor and innuendo.”

“Bradly shot one innuendo after the other while talking to another friend — but I chose to show restraint and not get angry.”

“Some people aren’t particularly fond of innuendo, but I think it adds a little extra spice in my writing.”

“The famous singer’s remarks were innuendoes that referred to love-making.”

“Marissa and Corey always seem to have an element of sexual innuendo in their conversations.”

“This book contains a whole lot of innuendos between the two leading characters.”

“After you log in to your social media account, you’ll find that there are innuendos that can be found on the internet.”

What Are Translations of Innuendo?

Did you know that there are many different ways to say “innuendo?” Yup, it’s true — here are some common translations for you to review below:

  • Afrikaans — innuendo
  • Arabic — الغمز
  • Bulgarian — Инсинуации
  • Chinese (simplified) — 影射
  • Croatian — aluzija
  • Czech — narážka
  • Danish — insinuation
  • American English — innuendo
  • Dutch — insinuatie
  • Finnish — vihjaus
  • French — insinuation
  • German — Anspielung, versteckte Andeutung
  • Italian — insinuazione
  • Greek — υπονοούμενο
  • Japanese — 当てこすり
  • Korean — 빈정대는 말
  • Norwegian — insinuasjon
  • Polish — innuendo
  • British English — innuendo
  • Portuguese — insinuação
  • Russian — косвенный намек
  • Spanish — indirecta
  • Swedish — insinuation
  • Thai — innuendo
  • Turkish — kinaye
  • Ukrainian — Інсинуації
  • Vietnamese — ám chỉ


Our word of the day can be defined as a hint, insinuation, or intimation about a person or thing — especially of a denigrating or derogatory nature. An innuendo can also be a question or remark, typically disparaging, that works by allusion. 

In simpler terms, the idea of innuendo is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one’s words are innocent in nature. 


Innuendo definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

innuendo | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

INNUENDO: definition | The Cambridge English Dictionary