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n. from Latin innuere, "to nod toward." In law it means "an indirect hint." "Innuendo" is used in lawsuits for defamation (libel or slander), usually to show that the party suing was the person about whom the nasty statements were made or why the comments were defamatory. Example: "the former Mayor is a crook," and Joe Alabaster is the only living ex-Mayor, thus by innuendo Alabaster is the target of the statement; or "Joe Alabaster was paid $100,000 by the Hot Springs Water Company," when it was known that Hot Springs was bucking for a contract with the city. The innuendo is that Alabaster took a bribe. (See: defamation, libel, slander)
INNUENDO, pleading. An averment which explains the defendant's meaning by
reference to antecedent matter. Salk. 513; 1 Ld. Raym. 256; 12 Mod. 139; 1
Saund. 243. The innuendo is mostly used in actions for slander. An innuendo,
as, "he the said plaintiff meaning," is only explanatory of some matter
expressed; it serves to apply the slander to the precedent matter, but
cannot add or enlarge, extend, or change the sense of the previous words,
and the matter to which it alludes must always appear from the antecedent
parts of the declaration or indictment. 1 Chit. Pl. 383; 3 Caines' Rep. 76;
7 Johns. R. 271; 5 Johns. R. 211; 8 Johns. R. 109; 8 N. H. Rep. 256.
3. It is necessary only when the intent may be mistaken, or when it cannot be collected from the libel or slander itself. Cowp. 679; 5 East, 463.
4. If the innuendo materially enlarge the sense of the words it will vitiate the declaration or indictment. 6 T. R. 691; 5 Binn. 218; 5 Johns. R. 220; 6 Johns. R. 83; 7 Johns. Rep. 271. But when the new matter stated in an innuendo is not necessary to support the action, it may be rejected as surplusage. 9 East, R. 95; 7 Johns. R. 272. Vide, generally, Stark. on Slan. 293; 1 Chit. Pl. 383; 3 Chit. Cr. Law, 873; Bac. Ab. Slander, R; 1 Saund. 243, n. 4; 4 Com. Dig. 712; 14 Vin. Ab. 442; Dane's Ab. Index, h. t.; 4 Co. 17.