I need to know the word that has the meaning "to hint at something bad or negative" because my friend said to find the word for it. I've tried to go on Google but it hasn't worked, so I need your help please.

  • 2
    Hi amina. We're gonna need some context. Could you maybe give us an example situation. Or better yet, an example sentence with a blank where you need the word.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jun 8 '15 at 6:27

Perhaps casting aspersions is what you are looking for.

Dropping a negative hint about someone without making an outright criticism would amount to that.

Were you casting aspersions in my direction, by any chance?

  • Good one, +1. For a more modern bent: throwing shade.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 8 '15 at 12:09



Be a warning or indication of (a future event):


From Race on the QT by Adilifu Nama:

Although Cabot's “racial” comment is delivered as an absent-minded throwaway line, it foreshadows a litany of racial name-calling throughout the rest of the film that explicitly degrades African Americans.

Emphasis added


When I want to say someone is hinting at something insulting or unpleasant, I usually use the word insinuate.

Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO):

insinuate: suggest or hint (something bad or reprehensible) in an indirect and unpleasant way.

he was insinuating that she had slept her way to the top


insinuate: to say something unpleasant in an indirect way

He even went as far as insinuating that Roger was a liar.

Merriam-Webster (MW):

insinuate: to say (something, especially something bad or insulting) in an indirect way




Be a sign or warning that (something, especially something momentous or calamitous) is likely to happen:

From Atlas of Great Comets by Ronald Stoyan:

Almost in the centre of it, above the Prechistenka Boulevard, surrounded and sprinkled on all sides by stars but distinguished from them all by its nearness to the earth, its white light, and its long uplifted tail, shone the enormous and brilliant comet of 1812 – the comet which was said to portend all kinds of woes and the end of the world.”

Emphasis added


You could try

  • to intimate that. . . (not IN•ta•mut; IN•ta•mayt)

Although strictly speaking, this means simply to make known, the usual connotation is to hint at some presumably unpleasant consequence, or to make a roundabout derogatory remark. See, for example, the samples shown here, http://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/intimate, under "VERB".


Your question as it stands brings me to the word ominous:

Giving the worrying impression that something bad is going to happen; threateningly inauspicious:

"there were ominous dark clouds gathering overhead"


Perhaps you are looking for to caution. More urgently, one might warn or forewarn a person of something negative up ahead; most urgently (and the least subtly), one would alert someone of impending trouble.

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