1. A slight indication or intimation: wanted to avoid any hint of scandal.
a. A brief or indirect suggestion; a tip: stock-trading hints.
b. A statement conveying information in an indirect fashion; a clue: Give me a hint about the big news.
3. A barely perceptible amount: just a hint of color.
4. Archaic An occasion; an opportunity.
v. hint·ed, hint·ing, hints
1. To express or state indirectly: She hinted that she might prefer our company to theirs. See Synonyms at suggest.
2. To indicate or make evident in an indirect manner: "The diversity of observations hinted that they had no common origin" (Carl Sagan).
To give a hint: wouldn't hint at the true purpose of the meeting.
[Probably from Middle English hinten, henten, to catch, grasp, from Old English hentan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.