From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishhinthint1 /hɪnt/ ●●○ noun [countable] 1 SAYsomething that you say or do to suggest something to someone, without telling them directly There have been hints that he may take up coaching. ‘Look, I can’t tell you.’ ‘Oh, come on, give me a hint.’hint about/as to Miles had been dropping heavy hints about the cost of petrol. I made it clear I wasn’t interested in him, but he didn’t take the hint.2 LITTLE/NOT MUCHa very small amount or sign of somethinghint of ‘When?’ he asked with a hint of impatience. We shall have to turn back if there’s the slightest hint of fog.3 ADVISEa useful piece of advice about how to do something SYN tiphelpful/handy hintshint on/about helpful hints on looking after houseplantsCOLLOCATIONSverbsgive (somebody) a hintCome on, what is it? Give me a hint.drop a hint (=give a hint)She was dropping quite a few hints about what she'd like for her birthday.take a/the hint (=to understand a hint and act on it)Mark took the hint and shut up.get the hint (=to understand a hint)I looked hopefully at the cake, but he didn't get the hint.adjectivesa broad/strong/heavy hint (=one that is very easy to understand)He had dropped a heavy hint that they might get married.a subtle/gentle hint (=one that is not very easy to understand – sometimes used ironically when someone is being very obvious)I'm sick of her subtle hints that I'm not welcome here.a vague hint (=one that is not specific enough to understand)In his article, he gave only vague hints as to what he had actually done.phrasesI can take a hint (=used when you understand someone's hint)All right, I can take a hint. I'm leaving.
Examples from the Corpushint• a wine that tastes of blackcurrants with just a hint of vanilla• You might notice a hint of brandy in the sauce.• For young women in particular, the message conveyed is that of elegance, poise, and perhaps a hint of luxury.• His comments were a clear hint that tax rises might be necessary.• After all, if you happened to be next him after dinner for ten minutes, he would get invaluable hints.• She spoke amiably, yet with the least hint of dismissal in her voice.• Their outward appearance gives no hint as to the wealth of amazing finds that have come from local beaches in the past.• She wears anachronistic styles as though they were the latest fashion, with no hint of nostalgia.• Sometimes other hints of friendship between men from different elements of the connection survive.• Teacher's notes give practical hints on developing reading skills, together with ideas for implementing play-reading in class.• There were hints before the local elections, rumours of some sort of relaunch of the Left.hints that• Consider each one separately and try to apply the guidelines and hints that have been offered so far.• I was hoping for hints that I was going to be excused from this high dudgeon of physical terror.• Politicians shy away from hints that they may be complacent.• Finally he hints that perhaps lesbian females are the safest carers.• It hints that it is politicians, not disposal plants, which make the two places differ.• He was apparently out of favor with the judges, some of whom had dropped subtle hints that Galindo should move on.• For me, though, there were a few tantalizing hints that women could be powerful, nontraditional, even adventurous.hint of• There was a hint of anger in his voice.• It's a well-balanced wine with a hint of sweetness.helpful/handy hints• None of them ever enlivened maths lessons with a few handy hints about alternative sexuality.• Beyond these guidelines, there are plenty of helpful hints to keep you on a low-fat track.• Do we ever see articles or helpful hints aimed at us?• Readers with humorous computing tales or handy hints are welcome to write to Fatal Dos Error at the usual address.• They were extremely receptive to the helpful hints offered by advice magazines, which were proliferating at the time.• An instruction book is included in the box, with helpful hints and suggestions for projects.• The lads, as always, were on the phone all week with helpful hints.hinthint2 ●●○ verb [intransitive, transitive] SAYto suggest something in an indirect way, but so that someone can guess your meaning SYN implyhint at What are you hinting at?hint (that) He hinted strongly that he might be prepared to send troops in.→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpushint• Nadine had been unable to tell her exactly but had done a good deal of hinting.• Republicans hinted at a willingness to shave their net tax cuts to about $ 177 billion over seven years.• Past the strategies, how can the joys of reading and writing be even hinted at in the Basics Skills For ever classroom?• Part of his input is to hint at new things I might write.• The President hinted at the possibility of military action.• Simon and John hinted that he was preoccupied, but in fan he was downright bloody rude, and everybody knew it.• Harry hinted that his friendship with Mona might have contributed to his marriage break-up.• But abortion-rights elements of the party hinted they may still try to amend or delete the abortion language.• As Ehrlich hints, wild life resembles that strange loop of the Uroborus biting its tail, consuming itself.hint at• What are you hinting at?Origin hint1 (1600-1700) Probably from hent “act of seizing” ((16-17 centuries)), from Old English hentan “to seize”