An innuendo (also called insinuation) 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). Innuendos are also commonly used in "Friends" and other cult followings in the sitcom genre.Innuendo is common in many other British sitcoms such as "Only Fools and Horses" and "Allo Allo", as well as in the British series Big Cook, Little Cook [YouTube - 'Dirty Big Cook Little Cook']


Sexual innuendo is common in adult cartoon shows, like "The Simpsons", "Futurama", "Family Guy", "American Dad!", "South Park", and "Drawn Together". It is also common in present day children's cartoon shows; such shows include "Rocko's Modern Life", "The Ren and Stimpy Show", "Fairly Odd Parents", "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends", "Animaniacs", "SpongeBob SquarePants", "Robot Boy", "Courage the Cowardly Dog", "Tiny Toon Adventures", "Cow and Chicken", "Pinky and the Brain", "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy", "The Life and Times of Juniper Lee", "", "Dexter's Laboratory" [There is an innuendoic sequence in as well.] , "Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog", and "Danny Phantom".


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 people had complained. [ [] ]

Radio comedy

The comedy radio panel show "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" has a strong tradition of sexual innuendo, usually at the expense of Samantha, the score keeper, e.g.: "Samantha's going out now for an ice cream with her new Italian gentleman friend. She says she's looking forward to licking the nuts off a large Neapolitan." Luckily for Samantha, she does not actually exist, but that has not prevented some uninformed listeners from sending letters in to the show protesting her humiliating treatment.


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 bands AC/DC and ZZTop 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. Country musician Keith Urban recorded "Faster Car", a song off his 2006 album Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing. The lyrics are referring to sexual innuendo.

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  • innuendo — insinuation Analogous words: hinting or hint, intimation, suggestion (see corresponding verbs at SUGGEST): implication, inference: allusion (see corresponding verb at REFER) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • innuendo — meaning ‘an indirectly disparaging hint or remark’, has the plural form innuendoes. The word is derived from a Latin gerund (verbal noun) meaning ‘by nodding at’, i.e. ‘by pointing to, by meaning’. In English it was originally used in legal… …   Modern English usage

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