a nod and a wink


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a nod and a wink

A sly, subtle signal used to communicate a piece of information that one doesn't want to state aloud, publicly, or directly. Sometimes hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. One clever little moment in the film is a nod and a wink to fans of the original books. Even though I didn't have a work permit, a lot of smaller business would still hire me with a nod and a wink. The governor wants to clamp down on the nod-and-a-wink attitude of police officers who look the other way when drivers have a bit more to drink than they should have.
See also: and, nod, wink

a nod and a wink

BRITISH
If someone gives you a nod and a wink, they communicate something to you by saying it indirectly or by giving you a signal. Planners were today accused of giving `a nod and a wink' to a controversial school building project in the county. A nod and a wink from the chairman is all it takes to move share prices up or down. Note: Sometimes the expression nod and wink is used before a noun. There has been so-called `nod and wink' diplomacy on the sidelines. Note: These expressions are usually used to show disapproval, often because something illegal or dishonest is happening.
See also: and, nod, wink