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- (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /ˈɪŋklɪŋ/
Audio (RP) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɪŋklɪŋ
- Hyphenation: inkl‧ing
- possibly a variant of nikking, nyckyng (“hint, slight indication; mention, whisper”), possibly from nikken (“to mark (a text) for correction (?)”) + -ing, -inge (suffix forming gerunds from verbs); or
- more likely from the rebracketing of an inklyng as a ninkiling, from Middle English inklen (“to mention (in a low voice); to tell (the truth)”) [and other forms] + -ing, -inge; inklen may be derived from inca, inke (“dread, fear; doubt; danger, risk (?)”), from Old English inca (“doubt, uncertainty; suspicion; fear; cause for complaint, grievance, grudge, ill-will, offence; quarrel; occasion, opportunity”), from Proto-Germanic *inkô (“ache; grief; regret”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁eng-, *yenǵ- (“illness”). The English word would then be analysable as inkle + -ing.
inkling (plural inklings)
- Usually preceded by forms of to give: a slight hint, implication, or suggestion given.
- Synonym: intimation
- 1856, W. S. Balch, “Guiuk-Soui”, in C[aroline] M[ehitable Fisher] Sawyer, editor, The Rose of Sharon: A Religious Souvenir, Boston, Mass.: Abel Tompkins, and Sanborn, Carter & Bazin, →OCLC, page 192:
- [T]he present recalled the past, robed in the memories of its thousand dark and damning deeds of ignorance and superstition, and gave inklings of a brighter and better future; [...]
- 1961, Bertram D[avid] Wolfe, “Introduction”, in Rosa Luxemburg, The Russian Revolution; and Leninism or Marxism? (Ann Arbor Paperbacks for the Study of Communism and Marxism; AA57), Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, published 2005 (22nd printing), →ISBN, page 3:
- A passage from one of her [Rosa Luxemberg's] letters written from prison to a young friend, Dr. Hans Diefenbacker, in the spring of 1917 will suffice to give an inkling of this passion: [...]
- 2015, Michael E[dward] O’Hanlon, “Conflicts Real, Latent, and Imaginable”, in The Future of Land Warfare, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, →ISBN, page 59:
- Delhi's reaction was remarkably restrained in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai attacks. But as a result of the tragedy, the Indian military gave inklings of formulating a "Cold Start" doctrine, along with associated changes to military organization and weaponry and posture, that would allow it to carry out a quick, punitive response, on up to eight axes, to any similar future Pakistani transgression.
- Often preceded by forms of to get or to have: an imprecise idea or slight knowledge of something; a suspicion.
- 1678, John Bunyan, “The Author’s Apology for His Book”, in The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: […], London: […] Nath[aniel] Ponder […], →OCLC; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress (The Noel Douglas Replicas), London: Noel Douglas, […], 1928, →OCLC:
- If that a Pearl may in a Toads-head dwell, / And may be found too in an Oiſter-ſhell; / If things that promiſe nothing, do contain / What better is then Gold; who will diſdain / (That have an inkling of it,) there to look, / That they may find it?
- 1678, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: […], London: […] Nath[aniel] Ponder […], →OCLC; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress as Originally Published by John Bunyan: Being a Fac-simile Reproduction of the First Edition, London: Elliot Stock […], 1875, →OCLC, page 17:
- This man then meeting with Chriſtian, and having ſome inckling of him, for Chriſtians ſetting forth from the City of Deſtruction was much noiſed abroad, not only in the Town, where he dwelt, but alſo it began to be the Town-talk in ſome other places.
- 1911, John Galsworthy, “Quality”, in The Inn of Tranquillity: Studies and Essays, London: William Heinemann, published October 1912, →OCLC, page 15:
- These thoughts, of course, came to me later, though even when I was promoted to him, at the age of perhaps fourteen, some inkling haunted me of the dignity of himself and brother. For to make boots—such boots as he made—seemed to me then, and still seems to me, mysterious and wonderful.
- 1927, M[ohandas] K[aramchand] Gandhi, “निर्बल के बल राम [Nirbala ke bala Rama]”, in Mahadev Desai, transl., The Story of My Experiments with Truth: Translated from the Original in Gujarati, volume I, Ahmedabad, Gujarat: Navajivan Press, →OCLC, part I, page 171:
- Of the thing that sustains him through trials man has no inkling, much less knowledge, at the time.
- 1976, Richard Dawkins, “Why are People?”, in The Selfish Gene, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, →ISBN; 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1989 (1999 printing), →ISBN, page 1:
- Living organisms had existed on earth, without ever knowing why, for over three thousand million years before the truth finally dawned on one of them. His name was Charles Darwin. To be fair, others had had inklings of the truth, but it was Darwin who first put together a coherent and tenable account of why we exist.
- (Britain, dialectal) A desire, an inclination.
- 1870 September 17, “The ‘United Brethren in Christ’”, in W[illia]m J. Allinson, editor, Friends’ Review. A Religious, Literary, and Miscellaneous Journal, volume XXIV, number 4, Philadelphia, Pa.: Published at 109 North Tenth Street; Merrihew & Son, printers, […], →OCLC, page 61:
- I requested brother Weder to come up into the stand and commence the preaching. But, inasmuch as he had his own notion about such things, having an inkling towards Quakerism within him,—that is, not to speak until he felt moved to do so, and this inspiration was wanting,—he refused to preach, and remained on his seat in the congregation.
- 1996, Michael Cavanaugh, Biotheology: A New Synthesis of Science and Religion, Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, →ISBN, page 105:
- A strong culture maintains the stability of its concepts or doctrines in various ways. One way is to convince its members that their inklings towards change are pathological. But actually the range of health is very broad, and the flexibility of the human mind is great. It is not pathological for belief-systems to change, even continuously, provided we keep them stable enough to allow adequate functioning.
- 2000, Jacqueline S. Ismael, Shereen T. Ismael, “Gender and State in Iraq”, in Suad Joseph, editor, Gender and Citizenship in the Middle East (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East), Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, →ISBN, page 195:
- In the Baathist government in Iraq generally, and Saddam Hussein's regime in particular, the nation-state's inkling towards fascist formation became manifest, undaunted by the necessities of political compromise or niceties of liberal temperance.
slight hint, implication, or suggestion given
imprecise idea or slight knowledge of something — see also suspicion
- ^ “ningkiling, ger.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “nikking, ger.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “nikken, v.(2)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “-ing(e, suf.(1)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “inklen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “inca, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- Compare “inkling, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1900; “inkling, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.