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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

give (someone) a nudge

To give someone a mild or gentle reminder, directive, or word of encouragement. If your friends haven't already donated to our charity, give them a nudge this year to help in the fight against poverty. John is a good student, but sometimes I need to give him a little nudge to do his homework.
See also: give, nudge


1. noun Someone who is constantly or persistently pestering, badgering, or irritating someone, especially with complaints or criticisms. God, you've been such a nudge lately. You need to lighten up! He turned into a real nudge as we got closer to the deadline.
2. verb To complain or criticize in a constant, irritating manner. Instead of just nudging the whole time, why no actually try to help us get this done? If you're going to nudge the whole drive, I'll just turn this car around and take all of us home.
3. verb To pester, badger, or irritate someone constantly or persistently, especially with complaints or criticisms. I wish you would stop nudging me about the project—I already told you I had everything under control! I wish she wouldn't nudge me like that. I'll do the dishes in due time!

nudge (someone or something) (somewhere)

To gently push someone or something into a place, area, or position. I could tell John was nervous about being at a party with people he didn't know, so I nudged him into the room. Would you mind nudging the table out of the way a little?
See also: nudge

nudge (someone) into (doing) (something)

To gently coax, persuade, or convince someone into some situation or to do something. I had never really intended to get married, but my girlfriend really wanted to and eventually nudged me into the decision. You have to nudge people into making changes in their lifestyle; they really don't like being pressured or guilted into it.
See also: nudge

nudge aside

1. To move someone or something out of one's path with a gentle push or bump. I had to nudge people aside so we could reach the exit. Just nudge aside those boxes if you need more room.
2. To remove someone from a position of power or authority, especially subtle, conniving, or duplicitous means. After promoting my son-in-law to vice president of the company, I get the feeling that he's trying to nudge me aside completely. The board voted to discreetly nudge aside the CEO following his public breakdown.
See also: aside, nudge

nudge nudge (wink wink)

spoken A phrase spoken after a statement which indicates or emphasizes an underlying euphemistic meaning or innuendo. To be honest, we didn't see many sights on our vacation. We spent most of the time in bed, though there wasn't much sleeping, nudge nudge, wink wink!
See also: nudge

nudge out

1. To move in a vehicle, especially a car, slowly out of, into, or onto something. Now, drive the car carefully to the end of the driveway and nudge out onto the road.
2. To guide a vehicle slowly out of, into, or onto something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "nudge" and "out." She nudged the car out of the garage and waited for an opening in traffic. It's pretty cramped in here, so you'll want to nudge the boat out of the marina very carefully.
3. To push someone or something out (of something or some place) gently or incrementally. A noun or pronoun can be used between "nudge" and "out." A large group of tourists came into the bar and started nudging me out of my seat. I nudged the box out of the stack so as not to topple the whole thing.
4. To force someone or something gradually to leave (something or place) over time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "nudge" and "out." These giant retailers have been nudging out local businesses for the last few years. I get the feeling that the board of directors is trying to nudge me out of the company.
5. To overtake someone in a competition or leaderboard, especially by a narrow margin or degree. A noun or pronoun can be used between "nudge" and "out." The other sales team nudged us out of the lead by just a few percentage points. The newcomer managed to nudge out the reigning champion by just a few points at the end of the match.
See also: nudge, out

wink wink (nudge nudge)

spoken A phrase spoken after a statement which emphasizes or points out a euphemistic underlying meaning or innuendo. To be honest, we didn't see many sights on our vacation. We spent most of the time in bed, though there wasn't much sleeping, wink wink, nudge nudge!
See also: wink
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

nudge someone or something aside

to push or bump someone or something out of the way. We nudged the old man aside and went on ahead. She nudged aside the cat to make room on the sofa.
See also: aside, nudge
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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

nudge nudge (wink wink)

used to draw attention to an innuendo, especially a sexual one, in the previous statement. informal
This expression is a catchphrase from Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy programme.
See also: nudge
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ˌnudge ˈnudge, ˌwink ˈwink


a ˌnudge and a ˈwink

used to suggest something to do with sex without actually saying it: They’ve been spending a lot of time together, nudge nudge, wink wink.
See also: nudge, wink
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


and noodge (nʊdʒ)
1. n. someone who nags. Sally can be such a nudge!
2. in. to nag. Don’t noodge all the time.
3. tv. to nag someone. Stop nudging me about that.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
'Nudges are very subtle and one thing we have tried to push back is why don't we take it holistically.
He served as the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs during the Obama Administration and is author of many books, including Nudge (with Richard Thaler) (2008), The Cost-Benefit Revolution (2018), On Freedom (forthcoming 2019), and How Change Happens (forthcoming 2019).
The researchers, therefore, looked to alternative behavioral models to determine the assumptions under which a nudge can be assessed in a meaningful way.
Nudges are typically used to get people to do things that are good for them or for society as a whole, but which they may be otherwise disinclined to do.
Results are presented by country in increasing order of nudge approval, beginning with Denmark, which showed the least high approval rate for the 15 nudges, followed by Hungary, the United Kingdom, and Italy, which had the highest approval rate of the nudges based on unconditional descriptive statistics.
As a general matter, people tend to prefer nudges that rely on System 2 versus System 1 unless the System 1 nudge is clearly superior (pp.
Lebanon's first nudge unit, Nudge Lebanon, has tested numerous small behavioral interventions and demonstrated the profound impact it has on increasing citizen compliance with the law.
Nudge, he said, is distinct from the two classical tools for changing behavior that governments use -- incentivizing a particular action through financial rewards, such as subsidies, or penalizing negative behavior through laws and the justice system.
Dennis said: "We want to keep our options open with Final Nudge and obviously races as valuable as the Grand National are very few and far between!" Final Nudge has an official rating of 143, which was the lowest rating to gain a place in the final field of 40 for the 2017 Grand National.
"Nudge units have been adopted at the top level of many governments, including the Obama administration," he noted.
These are so-called "nudge" ideas, also known as "nudge theory" in behavioral science, that propose positive, indirect suggestions to achieve non-forced compliance to influence the motives, incentives and decision making of groups and individuals.
'NUDGE' has become quite the buzzword in recent years, with nudge theory employed by governments around the world to encourage citizens to do things like pay their taxes on time, or sign up to a pension.
(1,2) In their book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Richard H.
Although it is possible to nudge in a way that is quasi-paternalistic, some nudges go beyond quasi-paternalism.