Paraphrase Tool


Updated Feb 18, 2023

Understanding the Power of Rhetorical Device of Intimation


In the world of rhetoric, various techniques are employed to enhance the effectiveness of communication. One such powerful tool is the rhetorical device of intimation. This technique involves subtly suggesting or hinting at a meaning without explicitly stating it. By using indirect language or insinuations, speakers and writers can create an air of mystery, engage their audience, and spark their imagination. In this article, we will explore the concept of intimation and delve into some accurate examples to understand its impact on communication.

Defining Intimation

Intimation, in the context of rhetoric, refers to the act of subtly hinting at a particular idea, concept, or emotion without explicitly stating it. By leaving room for interpretation, the speaker or writer encourages the audience to actively engage with the message and draw their own conclusions. This technique can be particularly powerful when used in persuasive speeches, storytelling, literature, and even everyday conversations.

The Power of Implied Meanings

Example 1: Political Speeches

Politicians often employ intimation to convey their message while maintaining a sense of diplomacy or avoiding direct confrontation. Consider the following quote from a political speech:

"We should strive for a government that truly represents the will of the people, rather than one that is swayed by special interests."

In this example, the speaker implies that the current government may be influenced by special interests without explicitly stating it. By doing so, they allow the audience to infer their own conclusions, fostering a sense of critical thinking and engagement.

Example 2: Literary Works

Intimation is frequently used in literature to create depth and intrigue within a story. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's renowned novel, "The Great Gatsby," the character Jay Gatsby is described as having a "past that represented everything for which he had an unaffected scorn." This statement intimates that Gatsby's past is connected to some negative experiences or actions, without explicitly revealing the details. By leaving room for interpretation, Fitzgerald engages the reader's curiosity and encourages them to explore Gatsby's character further.

Techniques for Employing Intimation

1. Metaphors and Similes

Metaphors and similes are excellent devices for conveying intimation. By comparing two seemingly unrelated things, writers and speakers can hint at a deeper meaning without explicitly stating it. For instance:

"Her smile was a flickering candle in the darkness of his world."

In this example, the metaphorical comparison of a smile to a flickering candle suggests that the person's smile brings light and joy to the speaker's life.

2. Suggestive Language

Using suggestive language, such as adjectives or adverbs, can subtly imply certain qualities or emotions. Consider the following sentence:

"The room was eerily silent, as if it held a secret waiting to be unveiled."

By describing the silence as "eerily" and suggesting a hidden secret, the writer creates an atmosphere of tension and anticipation, engaging the reader's curiosity.


The rhetorical device of intimation serves as a powerful tool for engaging and captivating an audience. By hinting at ideas or emotions rather than explicitly stating them, speakers and writers can foster critical thinking, encourage imagination, and create a sense of intrigue. Whether employed in political speeches, literature, or everyday conversations, intimation adds depth and richness to communication. So, next time you aim to leave a lasting impression, consider harnessing the power of intimation to captivate your audience.


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