I know someone who has a tendency to make strange remarks whose meanings are not readily apparent, remarks which often have a dark feel to them, but which are left unexplained, as if to hide something. I’m seeking a word or phrase for these type of remarks. Any suggestions?

Edit: So think of it this way. You having a seemingly conversation with someone, and the person says something offkey that makes you think "hmm, where'd that come from? That was kind of dark."

  • 2
    I'm struggling with the wording of your question; can you give an example? Jan 22, 2015 at 3:10
  • Why is this tagged "american-english"?
    – tylerharms
    Jan 22, 2015 at 16:43
  • I believe the word is speaking. We don’t usually explain what we say, because normally the listener understands our words and doesn’t need an explanation. Jan 22, 2015 at 16:57

8 Answers 8


The verb you want is insinuate.

(from google) - suggest or hint (something bad or reprehensible) in an indirect and unpleasant way.


You might be looking for opaque or abstruse

From The Free Dictionary:

opaque : 3a. So obscure as to be unintelligible

abstruse : Difficult to understand; recondite: The students avoided the professor's abstruse lectures.


Since you mention that, "It usually has a dark connotation..." I'd suggest:

Cryptic: adjective \ˈkrip-tik\

1: secret, occult, obscure

2 a: having or seeming to have a hidden or ambiguous meaning: mysterious. cryptic messages b: marked by an often perplexing brevity, cryptic marginal notes

3: serving to conceal, cryptic coloration in animals; also: exhibiting cryptic coloration, cryptic animals

4: not recognized, a cryptic infection

5: employing cipher or code—cryp•ti•cal•ly adverb

Examples of CRYPTIC

His instructions were cryptic. He said only to wait until we felt certain the answer was clear, puzzled by the cryptic e-mail message left on his computer. “… his hectic characters either communicate in choppy or cryptic exchanges or rattle on in breathless recitations full of contradictions and asides.” —-Donna Seaman, Booklist, 15 Mar. 1994

Origin of CRYPTIC

Late Latin crypticus, from Greek kryptikos, from kryptos. First Known Use: circa 1638

Related to CRYPTIC

Synonyms: arcane, mysterious, deep, enigmatic (also, enigmatical), impenetrable, inscrutable, mystic, occult, uncanny. Antonyms: accessible, clear, nonambiguous, obvious, plain, unambiguous, unequivocal.



Perhaps you are thinking of innuendo, which Oxforddictionaries.com defines as follows:

NOUN (plural innuendoes or innuendos)

An allusive or oblique remark or hint, typically a suggestive or disparaging one:

she’s always making sly innuendoes

a constant torrent of innuendo, gossip, lies, and half-truths


Are you trying to think of "allude"? (To refer to something indirectly) It isn't necessarily dark, but it coveys a certain amount of mystery.


You may be thinking of


Another possibility is simply


  • Condescending means something completely different from what the OP is asking about. Jan 22, 2015 at 16:38


  • Not clearly understood or expressed; ambiguous or vague: Some say that Blake's style is obscure and complex.

(from TFD)


Talking in riddles is often used

talk in riddles:

to talk in a way that is difficult to understand

[Cambridge Idioms Dictionary]

If it must be a single word,


n. 2. deliberate obscurity or evasion of clarity.

[R H K Webster's] fits, but is (a) a less precise fit and (b) hardly colloquial.

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