I'm not clear on how intimate (in verb form) is perceived. Until I looked it up, I never would have believed (never seen) it used with inanimate objects as subject...I thought to intimate something was only for people to do... Now I'm confused as to how it is perceived. There's an example below about the sleekness of a guy's pair of pants "intimating". Do his pants have volition, or is it the thought behind the choice that the pants wearer implied by wearing them, hoping that audience members would infer something about him...? It feels like "intimate" falls somewhere between "infer" and "imply", or a combination of both somehow...
Am I just making too much of it? Should I just simplify it and allow myself to understand rather that "intimate" = "hint at" in usage?
Here's where I want to use it:
1) "She had returned from fetching the medicine downstairs and asked him directly why the door had been locked. "I don't have my gun nearby, and he ain't acting right," he said, (intimating or implying) that he would have shot her father if he had tried to come into the bedroom; but without his gun he simply locked the door."
2) "...and he ain't acting right," he said. She (intimated or inferred) that he would have shot her father if he had tried...
I want something more sinister than "hinted at", but "imply" or "infer" seem too obvious...
OR a third option, possibly allowing the door to be the actor:
3) "I don't have my gun and he ain't acting right," he said. The locked door - usually left open for better air - intimated that her husband was truly capable of shooting her father, had only he'd been armed."
Could any of these work? It all feels so clunky to me now...
From Vocabulary.com: Theodore Bernstein, in his classic The Careful Writer, gives us a way to keep imply and infer straight: "The implier is the pitcher; the inferrer is the catcher."
(Merriam&Webster) Examples of intimate in a sentence:
Is he really—as his advisers keep intimating to Western journalists—a serious reformer waiting to emerge from the closet? —Murray Scot Tanner, Newsweek, 6 May 2002
The dome tops look like pieces of the older ridged plains, intimating that the domes formed when the plains were pushed upward from below. —Robert T. Pappalardo et al., Scientific American, October 1999
He bounded on stage wearing a polo T-shirt and trousers whose sleekness intimated a large American Express bill. —Caroline Sullivan, Times (London), 15 Oct. 1992
"...trying to intimate that there was more going on than anyone knew..."