sug·gest (səg-jĕst, sə-jĕst)
tr.v. sug·gest·ed, sug·gest·ing, sug·gests
1. To offer for consideration or action; propose: suggest things for children to do; suggested that we take a walk.
2. To express or say indirectly: The police officer seemed to be suggesting that the death was not an accident.
3. To make evident indirectly; intimate or imply: a silence that suggested disapproval.
4. To bring or call to mind by logic or association; evoke: a cloud that suggests a mushroom; a ringlike symbol suggesting unity.
5. To serve as or provide a motive for; prompt or demand: Such a crime suggests apt punishment.
[Latin suggerere, suggest- : sub-, up; see SUB- + gerere, to carry.]
Synonyms: suggest, imply, hint, intimate2, insinuate
These verbs mean to convey thoughts or ideas by indirection. Suggest refers to the calling of something to mind as the result of an association of ideas: "Are you suggesting that I invited or enticed Kevin here knowing that my husband planned to be away?" (Mary Higgins Clark).
To imply is to suggest a thought or an idea by letting it be inferred from something else, such as a statement, that is more explicit: The effusive praise the professor heaped on one of the students began to imply disapproval of the rest. Hint refers to an oblique or covert suggestion that often contains clues: The news article hinted that his resignation was not voluntary. Intimate applies to indirect, subtle expression that often reflects discretion, tact, or reserve: She intimated that her neighbors were having marital problems. To insinuate is to suggest something, usually something unpleasant, in a covert, sly, and underhanded manner: The columnist insinuated that the candidate raised money unethically.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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