Yesterday I read the word "wink and nod" in a newspaper. I didn't understand the meaning. Can anyone explain?

  • wink and nod is not a "word." However, newspaper is. Use capital letter for the fpp. – Kris Jul 24 '14 at 8:44
up vote 2 down vote accepted

a nod and a wink| a nod is as good as a wink:

  • used to say that a suggestion or a hint will be understood, without anything more being said. Everything could be done by a nod and a wink.
  • it generally implies quiet agreement and consent.

A nod is as good as a wink:

  • is a way of saying you have understood something that someone has said, even though it was not said directly. The full phrase (sometimes used in the UK ) is 'a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse'.

Source:http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/nod_2

It means to signal that you agree to something, without leaving any record that you ever agreed to it. It would be used when the thing being agreed to is controversial, or even illegal.

A saying by Martin Lomasney is related: "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink."

Depends on the context in which it was used i guess. For example here, So no litmus test on abortion -- except the protection of “women’s rights,” which everyone in the room understood as a reference to abortion. Obama’s pose of neutrality came with a theatrical wink and nod. Everyone got the joke

It means that the speaker was saying one thing in public, but he actually intended something rather different. The gesture of making "a nod and a wink" is a secret sign to your own supporters that tells them you're not being entirely straightforward, or you really mean something different. It's a way to reassure them using coded language that they will understand, but the general public won't.

A "theatrical" nod and wink would be one that's really obvious, so just about everybody will know what he really means - but since he doesn't actually say it outright, he can still deny saying it later if he has to.

Link: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2273655

I was surprised, reading the previous comments, to see "a nod and a wink", and I'd never heard "a nod is as good as a wink" either, but the phrase "a wink and a nod" was very familiar to me. When someone does something "under the table" -- like taking a bribe -- with the understanding of the other participant, they might do so "with a wink and a nod", meaning everybody understands without saying.

I guessed that "a nod and a wink" might be British usage, and "a wink and a nod" American. Sure enough, when I checked using Google's ngram viewer, in British English "a nod and a wink" is more common; in American English, it's the other way around.

To wink: close and open one eye quickly, typically to indicate that something is a joke or a secret or as a signal of affection or greeting

To nod: lower and raise one's head slightly and briefly, especially in greeting, assent, or understanding, or to give someone a signal.

  • 1
    I know the meaning the individual words.But i need meaning for combination of both the words and usage. – chinnu Jul 24 '14 at 6:48
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    Could you supply the sentence you read it in? For context sake. – MegaMark Jul 24 '14 at 6:49
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    With no context it stands out as simply a greeting or an acknowledgement to an unspoken understanding of something. – MegaMark Jul 24 '14 at 6:50

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