a nudge and a wink

a nudge 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 nudge 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 nudge and a wink. The governor wants to clamp down on the nudge-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, nudge, 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