noun \ˈmē-niŋ\

: the idea that is represented by a word, phrase, etc.

: the idea that a person wants to express by using words, signs, etc.

: the idea that is expressed in a work of writing, art, etc.

Full Definition of MEANING

a :  the thing one intends to convey especially by language :  purport
b :  the thing that is conveyed especially by language :  import
:  something meant or intended :  aim <a mischievous meaning was apparent>
:  significant quality; especially :  implication of a hidden or special significance <a glance full of meaning>
a :  the logical connotation of a word or phrase
b :  the logical denotation or extension of a word or phrase
meaning adjective
mean·ing·ly \-niŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of MEANING

  1. What is the precise meaning of this word in English?
  2. an old word that has taken on a new meaning
  3. The word has both literal meanings and figurative meanings.
  4. a word with various shades of meaning
  5. Don't distort her meaning by taking her words out of context.
  6. I didn't understand the meaning of his remark.
  7. Literary critics disagree about the meanings of his poems.
  8. a poem with subtle shades of meaning
  9. What is the meaning of life?
  10. It's a story about the true meaning of Christmas.

First Known Use of MEANING

14th century

Rhymes with MEANING


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In philosophy and linguistics, the sense of a linguistic expression, sometimes understood in contrast to its referent. For example, the expressions “the morning star” and “the evening star” have different meanings, though their referent (Venus) is the same. Some expressions have meanings but no referents (“the present king of France”) or referents but no meanings (“that”). The literal or conventional meaning of an expression may differ from what a speaker of that expression means by uttering it on a particular occasion; this is the case with similes, statements uttered ironically, and statements that convey various “conversational implicatures,” as in the following examples: “She entered the house and shot him” implicates that she shot him in the house after she entered it, though this is not part of the sentence's literal meaning; “John has three sons” implicates that John has no more than three sons, though again the sentence does not literally say this. Other non-literal aspects of meaning include the potential for carrying out various “speech acts” (see speech act theory); e.g., uttered in the appropriate circumstances, the sentence “I christen thee the Joseph Stalin,” constitutes the act of naming a ship, and the sentence “I am cold” constitutes a request to close the window. See also pragmatics; semantics.


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