Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

a nod is as good as a wink

a nod is as good as a wink

Meaning

  • This phrase refers to passing signals to convey a message. This signal can be subtle for those who want to understand it.
  • It began as a reference to giving signals for an act that is illegal or considered immoral but is now a common phenomenon to pass on jokes between friends.

Example Sentences

  1. She wanted to go for the late night party so her friend made up a story about them getting together to study. Funny thing is that she had not said anything to her friend but a nod is as good as a wink between friends.
  2. Between siblings, a nod is generally as good as a wink.

Origin
Although it has many implications of the modern world, the saying actually originates in the 16th century. In 1793, this phrase has said to be published in the work titled ‘Letters’ by writer Joseph Ritson. In this version of the phrase it has additional words which read “A nod, you know, is as good as a wink to a blind horse.” The blind horse part changed the meaning of the phrase entirely since it meant that neither the wink nor the nod are of any use at all. That part was removed from the phrase in the 19th century which has changed the meaning of the phrase too.

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