The Meaning of Intimate: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of intimate? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word intimate, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word intimate mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, the word intimate can be used as a noun, adjective, or verb. As a noun and adjective, it is pronounced ˈin-tə-mət. As a verb, it is pronounced ˈin-tə-ˌmāt with a long a. As an adjective, the word intimate means familiar, close, or having a personal relationship, sexual relationship or private nature. One could refer to a close friend as an intimate friend, someone could have an intimate relationship with another person, or one could have intimate knowledge or intimate details about a situation. Such a close friend can also be referred to as an intimate, the noun form of the word. As a verb, the word intimate means to suggest or tip off. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

Many different languages also contain words that mean intimate in both the adjective, noun and verb form of the word. You may notice that some of these words look similar to the word intimate. This is probably because these words share a common ancestor or language of origin such as Latin or Greek. This is often how cognates – which are words and phrases that look, sound, and mean similar things across languages – are formed. This list of translations is provided by Word Sense.

Intimate (adj.) – close or familiar

  • Bokmål: intim‎, fortrolig‎
  • German: vertraut‎, innig‎
  • Russian: бли́зкий‎
  • Maori: taupiri‎
  • Irish: caidreamhach‎
  • Catalan: íntim‎
  • French: intime‎ (common)
  • Esperanto: intima‎
  • Latvian: intīms‎, tuvs‎
  • Finnish: tuttu‎
  • Greek: στενός‎ (masc.), οικείος‎ (masc.)
  • Italian: stretto‎ (masc.), intimo‎ (masc.)
  • Dutch: innig‎
  • Swedish: intim‎
  • Romanian: intim‎
  • Czech: důvěrný‎ (masc.)
  • Hungarian: bizalmas‎
  • Portuguese: íntimo‎
  • Estonian: lähedane‎
  • Polish: bliski‎

Intimate (n.) – a close friend

  • Estonian: lähedane sõber‎
  • Portuguese: íntimo‎ (masc.)
  • Finnish: läheinen ystävä‎
  • Italian: amico per la pelle‎ (masc.)
  • Irish: caidreamhach‎ (masc.)

Intimate (v.) – to suggest

  • Turkish: önermek‎
  • Polish: sugerować‎
  • Hungarian: ajánl‎, javasol‎
  • Russian: предлага́ть‎ (impf), предложи́ть‎ (pf), сове́товать‎ (impf), посове́товать‎ (pf)
  • Romanian: sugera‎
  • French: suggérer‎
  • Japanese: 提案‎
  • Portuguese: sugerir‎
  • Danish: forslå‎
  • Finnish: suositella‎, ehdottaa‎, esittää‎
  • Greek: συνιστώ‎
  • Arabic: اِقْتَرَحَ‎, (imperfect:) يَقْتَرِحُ‎
  • Chinese:
  • Malay: cadang‎
  • Korean: 제안하다‎
  • German: vorschlagen‎
  • Serbo-Croatian: predložiti‎ (impf), предложити‎ (impf)
  • Esperanto: sugesti‎
  • Mandarin: 建議‎, 建议‎ (jiànyì), 提議‎, 提议‎ (tíyì)
  • Vietnamese: đề nghị‎

How can the word intimate be used in a sentence?

The word intimate can be used as a noun, adjective, or verb. Below are sentence examples for each usage.

Adjective: Lucas and Fawn were having an intimate conversation when Lucas’ drunk friend interrupted, ruining the moment

Noun: Lucas and Logan were close intimates, and had been friends since they were children.

Verb: Fawn intimated that maybe it was time for Logan to go home.

What are synonyms for the word intimate?

There are numerous words that mean the same thing as intimate in both its adjective and verb forms. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful words to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word intimate in both its adjective, noun and verb forms is listed below, from Thesaurus.

Intimate (adj.) – close or familiar

  • inmost
  • internal
  • comfy
  • trusted
  • warm
  • loving
  • regular
  • guarded
  • elemental
  • devoted
  • bosom
  • deep-seated
  • special
  • cherished
  • inborn
  • buddy-buddy
  • close
  • firsthand
  • mellow
  • viscerous
  • penetrating
  • innermost
  • affectionate
  • thorough
  • secret
  • deep
  • privy
  • clubby
  • friendly
  • intrinsic
  • gut
  • visceral
  • exhaustive
  • profound
  • immediate
  • near
  • in-depth
  • interior
  • dear
  • inherent
  • confidential
  • fond
  • nice
  • snug
  • roommate
  • chummy
  • cozy
  • faithful
  • experienced
  • inbred
  • nearest
  • ingrained
  • mix
  • dearest
  • essential
  • fast
  • detailed
  • indwelling
  • innate
  • uptight
  • next

Intimate (n.) – a close friend

  • confidante
  • mate
  • associate
  • familiar
  • family
  • pal
  • crony
  • comrade
  • lover
  • chum
  • confidant
  • bosom buddy
  • companion

Intimate (v.) – to suggest

  • spring
  • avouch
  • announce
  • suggest
  • leak
  • indicate
  • express
  • let cat out of bag
  • expose
  • connote
  • impart
  • imply
  • allude
  • remind
  • vent
  • voice
  • infer
  • state
  • affirm
  • let it be known
  • aver
  • warn
  • make known
  • air
  • assert
  • drop a hint
  • tip off
  • make noise
  • hint
  • declare
  • profess
  • utter
  • spill the beans
  • communicate
  • insinuate

What is the origin of the word intimate?

The different forms of the word intimate all have slightly different origins according to Etymonline. The adjective form has been used since the 1630s to mean close or familiar. This comes from the Late Latin intimatus, which is the past participle of the Latin intimare meaning to make known or announce. This comes from the Lain intimus meaning inmost or deepest. This is also used figuratively with regard to affections or feelings. This uses the superlative form of the Latin prefix in meaning in, from the Proto-Indo-European root en. The word intimate has been used as a verb since the 1530s to mean to make something known formally, and since the 1580s to mean to suggest indirectly. This is considered a back formation from the word intimation, or possible from the Late Latin intimatus. The word intimate has been used as a noun since the 1650s to refer to a familiar friend. This was a formation from the adjective intimate. The word has been used to refer to women’s underwear, i.e. intimate apparel since 1988. Related words include the nouns intimacy, intimateness, and intimation.

Overall, the word intimate has three different forms – adjective, noun, and verb As an adjective, the word intimate refers to someone or something that is close or familiar. As a noun, it refers to familiar friend or person. As a verb, it means to suggest or tip off. This word is of Latin origin. Many different things can be described as intimate, from an intimate moment, to an intimate nightclub to intimate relations or intimate secrets.