I was thinking about the "intimate" word used here:

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

How can I differentiate both words?

Edit: in response to comments, I don't quite understand the meaning of the sentence. What is the difference between the first "intimate" and the second?

  • 2
    Not sure I understand the question. As chaos noted in an answer, they're pronounced differently. The way you use them in a sentence also differentiates them (as you obviously know already, since you used one as a verb and one as an adjective) (though someone may be able to construct an ambiguous sentence that uses the word in either part of speech). What sort of differentiation are you looking for?
    – msh210
    Mar 3, 2011 at 18:44
  • Actually I was reading some article and got this sentence. I was unable to get the real context or you can say meaning of the sentence. So asked what could it be ? What could be the difference between "intimate" and "intimate" ?
    – Akshay
    Mar 3, 2011 at 18:48
  • 1
    Oh, by "differentiate" you mean "perceive a difference", not "display a difference". Now I understand.
    – chaos
    Mar 3, 2011 at 19:03
  • @Chaos - Right. I am not able to understand the exact thing.
    – Akshay
    Mar 3, 2011 at 19:05

3 Answers 3


Well, if you're speaking, they're pronounced differently. In the adjective, the A is a schwa sound (an attenuated "uh"); in the verb, it's a long A.

The first word "intimate" in the sentence you posted is a verb meaning to communicate something confidentally. The second word "intimate" in the sentence is an adjective meaning close and mutually well-known/understood.

  • Thanks Chaos , I was wondering if this sentence has some different meaning ?
    – Akshay
    Mar 3, 2011 at 19:09
  • 2
    @Akshay Thakur: There's nothing about the sentence to suggest that it means anything more than "How can I tell this to my closest friend?"
    – chaos
    Mar 3, 2011 at 19:12
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    I would define "intimate" as a verb somewhat differently... it's to communicate indirectly: to hint, or to imply something, preferably in a way that only the intended target should be able to understand. Instead of saying outright "You've got a big stain on your shirt", I could intimate that something is wrong with "Perhaps you should double-check your tie, there's a mirror right over there." This is just a nitpick, though, the answer overall is perfectly correct.
    – Hellion
    Mar 3, 2011 at 19:51
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    I agree with @Hellion; "to intimate" something implies a degree of confidence expected on the speaker's part.
    – Uticensis
    Mar 3, 2011 at 20:00

I agree with the usage in the context of hinting at something, rather than saying it outright or directly. Overall meaning is to provide confidential communication.


The word 'intimate' has different meanings when used as a verb and when used as an adjective.

  • When used as a verb, it means: to make something known (to someone).
  • When used as an adjective, it means: very close/personal.

So, in your sentence, the first 'intimate' is a verb and second 'intimate' is an adjective.

  • 1
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