AskDefine | Define innuendo

Dictionary Definition

innuendo n : an indirect (and usually malicious) implication [syn: insinuation] [also: innuendoes (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


From innuendo.


  1. A derogatory hint or reference to a person or thing. An implication or insinuation.


Extensive Definition

An innuendo is a remark or question, typically disparaging, that works obliquely by allusion. The intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one's words, taken literally, are innocent. Innuendo can make use of, but is by no means restricted to, double entendre.

Usage and perception

Some modern examples of innuendo include sexual references to human body parts. For example, a woman might attempt to purchase some groceries (in this example, watermelons) and a man might say, "Boy, those are some nice melons you have there." This statement factually describes watermelons; although as opposed to double entendre the man's statement only implies that he was referring to the woman's breasts when the recipient understands.
When innuendo is used in a sentence, it could go completely undetected by someone who was not familiar with the hidden meaning, and he or she would find nothing odd about the sentence. Perhaps because innuendo is not considered offensive to those who do not "get" the hidden implication, it is often used in sitcoms and other comedy which would otherwise be considered unsuitable for children. Children would find this comedy funny, but because most children lack understanding of the hidden implication in innuendo, they would find it funny for a completely different reason from most adult viewers.

Innuendo in media


Sexual innuendo is common in sitcoms, for instance in Are You Being Served?, Mrs. Slocombe makes frequent references to her "pussy", such as "It's a wonder I'm here at all, you know. My pussy got soakin' wet. I had to dry it out in front of the fire before I left." A child might find this statement funny simply because of the references to her pussy cat, whereas an adult would detect the innuendo (pussy is sexual slang for vagina). In the context of Are You Being Served?, this is doubly funny as Mrs. Slocombe is apparently unaware of the innuendo, as well (See British humour). Mrs. Slocombe's name also has a double meaning (referencing double entendre): the phonically matching word "cum" is [American] slang for either ejaculation or semen; to ejaculate slowly (hence, the "slo" syllable in her name) would indicate that she's accomplished at intercourse. Innuendo is common in many other British sitcoms such as Only Fools and Horses and Allo Allo.


There was a considerable amount of sexual innuendo in a commercial for the Nissan Tiida starring Kim Cattrall that aired in Australia and New Zealand; The commercial was retracted by Nissan in New Zealand after some complained.

Radio comedy

In the comedy radio panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, where there is a strong tradition in which the innuendo would be via the ordering and stressing of words in a sentence. Humphrey Lyttelton often poses these remarks towards the 'lovely scorer Samantha'.


Pop singer Madonna recorded an innuendo-laden track entitled 'Where Life Begins' on her 1992-album Erotica. On a superficial level, the song would appear to describe a cosy romantic dinner date. The Bloodhound Gang uses sexual innuendos in many of their songs, such as "Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo" and the more popular "The Bad Touch". Queen made an album called Innuendo, which deals with the band's coming to terms with Freddie Mercury's imminent death (which is not obvious in the lyrics, unless you know he died of AIDS shortly after the release.) Classic rock band AC/DC are known for extensive use of sexual innuendos. The Styx songs, The Serpent is Rising, and The Grove of Eglantine are euphemisms for getting an erection and vagina respectively. A rapper named Eazy-E (1963-1995), made heavy use of sexual innuendo in many of his songs such as "Gimme That Nut". The Kiss song Lick It Up indirectly refers to oral sex.
innuendo in German: Anspielung

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accusal, accusation, accusing, allegation, allegement, allegory, allusion, animadversion, arcane meaning, arraignment, aspersion, assumption, bill of particulars, blame, bringing of charges, bringing to book, broad hint, causticity, charge, clue, coloration, complaint, connotation, count, cue, cynicism, delation, denouncement, denunciation, gentle hint, gesture, glimmer, glimmering, hint, impeachment, implication, implied meaning, import, imputation, index, indication, indictment, indirect, inference, information, inkling, insinuation, intimation, invective, ironic suggestion, irony, kick, lawsuit, laying of charges, look, meaning, metaphorical sense, nod, nuance, nudge, occult meaning, overtone, personal remark, personality, plaint, presumption, presupposition, prompt, prosecution, reference, reflection, reproach, sarcasm, satire, satiric wit, scent, sign, signal, slur, sly suggestion, spoor, subsense, subsidiary sense, suggestion, suit, supposition, suspicion, symbolism, symptom, taxing, telltale, tinge, touch, track, true bill, uncomplimentary remark, undercurrent, undermeaning, undertone, unspoken accusation, veiled accusation, whisper, whispering campaign, wink
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