nudge nudge wink wink

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American actress Gale Henry winking

Suggests that the speaker is nudging, and winking at, the person to whom the term is directed.



nudge nudge wink wink

  1. (idiomatic, humorous, also attributive) A phrase used to hint that the speaker is euphemistically referring to something else.
    • 1985 June 7, Michael John Cullen, “Electricity (South Island Concession) Amendment Bill”, in Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): First Session, Forty-first Parliament, 1985: House of Representatives, volume 462 (Comprising the Period from 22 March to 7 June 1985), Wellington, N.Z.: V. R. Ward, Government Printer, OCLC 191255532, page 4609:
      The Opposition is so insensitive to the South Island that it gets a North Island member to move a private member's Bill about a South Island issue. [] The Bill represents a broken half-promise—"nudge, nudge, wink, wink"—by the Leader of the Opposition in Timaru only a short time ago. [] So down [to the South Island] he goes—"nudge, nudge, wink, wink". They let him out of the closet for a while to go down to talk to some South Islanders and he told them they would get 25 percent and 10 percent. Now there is a Bill from a North Island Opposition member, the member for New Plymouth—a Bill that backs off from that promise in the space of a couple of weeks.
    • 2007, Rikke Schubart, “High Trash: Lara, Beatrix, and Three Angels”, in Super Bitches and Action Babes: The Female Hero in Popular Cinema, 1970–2006, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, →ISBN, page 300:
      Toby Miller, a professor at New York University, commented on [actress Drew] Barrymore's attitude: "She seems to be saying, 'I see no reason to hide by sexuality, my body—I want to celebrate it' … And all the women I know, even those who thought such a spectacle was tragic in the Seventies, love it. It's a nudge-nudge, wink-wink parody."
    • 2014, Lynda Bellingham, chapter 2, in The Boy I Love, London: Simon & Schuster, →ISBN:
      Sally unlocked her tiny cubicle and found herself feeling quite nostalgic. No more early mornings on the number 13 bus to work. No more Geordie and his nudge nudge, wink wink greetings; from next month she would be a professional actress, working in repertory.

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