a nudge and a wink

a nudge and a wink

You say a nudge and a wink to mean a way of talking about a rude or unpleasant subject in an indirect way. We still find it difficult to talk about these private matters openly, resorting instead to a nudge and a wink. Note: This expression is very variable. I'm tired of all the nods, all the nudges and the winks. No one is actually brave enough to say it directly to my face. Note: You sometimes hear people say nudge-nudge, wink-wink before a noun, with the same meaning. There have been a number of nudge-nudge, wink-wink rumours in the tabloid newspapers, suggesting the Minister was having an affair. Note: This expression became popular as a result of the 1970s British TV comedy series `Monty Python's Flying Circus'. One of the characters in a sketch made suggestive remarks and followed them by saying `nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more'. People sometimes nudge each other or wink at each other as a way of hinting at something.
See also: and, nudge, wink

a nudge and a wink

encouragement given secretly or implicitly; covert support.
Both a nudge and a wink are covert signs of complicity, with wink also having the implication of ‘shutting your eyes’ to something.
1998 Times There was a nudge and a wink at some mercenary help that in the end proved unnecessary.
See also: and, nudge, wink