Does suggestion mean implication??

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Senior Member
Hello there :),,

I hadn't even noticed that suggestion has such a meaning of saying something in a indirect way until I read it in dictionary.

However, I'm unsure if it precisely means implication.

For instance:

A: Your jacket doesn't really suit you well.
B: Are you suggesting / implying that I'm ugly?

Are they basically the same?

Could anyone help me?

  • Procol

    Senior Member
    British English

    Suggest and imply are very close... Webster's will tell you that "imply" may indicate a more definite or logical relation of the unexpressed idea to the expressed. So basically the answer to your question is "yes".


    Senior Member
    English - British
    However, I'm unsure if it precisely means implication.
    Are they basically the same?
    Do the two terms have an area of overlap? Yes.
    Are they basically the same? No.

    Each term has a circle of meaning. Each circle contains a range of different meanings.
    Part of one circle overlaps part of the other circle, but the two circles do not have the same centre: they are basically different.

    My estimation (based on my personal judgement of range of meanings versus frequency of use) is that the area of overlap represents no more than 10% to 20% of each circle.


    New Member
    When people say "what are you suggesting" in this example they really mean "what are you implying" so yes they both sound natural in English, but given the context one is "more correct" than the other. Considering your jacket example, if you say that the jacket doesn't suit them well then the correct word would be "what are you implying\are you implying that I'm ugly". Suggest is more something you offer to someone explicitly, "I suggest that you...." "Could you suggest a good book for me to read". To me saying "what are you suggesting...?" is more informal and is used when someone's taken offense to something. Furthermore,you can't really use suggest instead of imply. Imply has a very distinct definition, that you are adding an implicit or subtle meaning to what you're saying.
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    Senior Member
    Tunisian Arabic
    In this context I would say yes, 'suggest' is synonym to 'imply' or even 'insinuate'
    A: Your jacket doesn't really suit you well.
    B: Are you suggesting / implying / insinuating that I'm ugly?
    In different contexts, however, 'suggest' could have a completely different meaning. Equally 'imply' could be used in some contexts where 'insinuate' wouldn't work.


    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    "Hypnotic suggestion" can never become "hypnotic implication," for instance. And vice-versa - "implication" in formal logic cannot be stated as "suggestion." No two words are ever exactly synonymous.
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