\ ˈī-təm \

Definition of item 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a distinct part in an enumeration, account, or series : article

2 : an object of attention, concern, or interest

3 : a separate piece of news or information

4 : a couple in a romantic or sexual relationship

5 obsolete : warning, hint


\ ˈī-ˌtem , ˈī-təm \

Definition of item (Entry 2 of 3)

: and in addition : also used to introduce each article in a list or enumeration


\ ˈī-təm \
itemed; iteming; items

Definition of item (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 archaic : compute, reckon

2 archaic : to set down the particular details of

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for item

Synonyms: Noun

detail, particular, point

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for item


item, detail, particular mean one of the distinct parts of a whole. item applies to each thing specified separately in a list or in a group of things that might be listed or enumerated. every item on the list detail applies to one of the small component parts of a larger whole such as a task, building, painting, narration, or process. leave the details to others particular stresses the smallness, singleness, and especially the concreteness of a detail or item. a description that included few particulars

Examples of item in a Sentence


There are several items for sale. I need to buy a few household items like soap. He always orders the most expensive item on the menu. There are a lot of items on our agenda tonight, so let's start the meeting. I saw an item in today's paper about the mayor's campaign plans.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The resident told police $1,400 in cash, credit cards, a driver’s license and other items were missing from the Lexus. Kimberly Fornek,, "Police blotter: Burr Ridge officers follow suspects in eight car burglaries onto I-55 before losing them," 14 July 2018 Do-it-yourself props such as gravestones, ribbons, posters, wreaths, or other symbolic items can help drive your point home. Jenni Corwin, Teen Vogue, "What Exactly a Die-In Is, and How to Organize Your Own," 6 July 2018 The most common culprits are big, top-heavy items that aren’t anchored to a wall, like dressers, bureaus, and chests. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Emergency Responders Share 9 of the Biggest Death Traps in Your Home," 14 July 2018 Police said a Gary man was arrested Thursday after a search warrant for his residence reportedly turned up guns, ammunition, drug and related items, and cash. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Man, 47, arrested in Gary raid," 13 July 2018 On Mondays, there will be free admission until 3 p.m. for anyone who donates three canned or dried food items, which will be given to the Elk Grove Food Bank. Daniel Wilson, sacbee, "What’s new at the California State Fair? Here’s everything you need to know," 13 July 2018 But other items, like hand tools, lamps or fans, could be affected. Anchorage Daily News, "A new round of proposed Trump tariffs would hit US consumers," 12 July 2018 As consumers increasingly do their shopping on the internet—even buying big, bulky items like furniture off the internet—the availability of warehouse space to store those goods and fulfill orders continues to decline across the U.S. Erica E. Phillips, WSJ, "U.S. Warehouse Supply at Its Tightest in Two Decades," 11 July 2018 At Totokaelo’s flagship store at 190 Bowery, shoppers will find some of the brand’s most sought-after items, including Comme des Garçons x Louis Vuitton handbags, women’s runway looks from the ’90s, and a rare men’s staff cardigan from 1989. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "Rare Comme des Garçons Clothes Are on Sale Right Now," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The patio has its own menu, with essentials like brats and hot dogs but also items like a memorable pork sausage made with makrut lime and chile and topped with mango relish. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dining patios proliferate around Milwaukee; a look at some new ones for 2018," 10 July 2018 Some of the most popular Prime Now items ordered in Houston include avocados, strawberries and bananas. Fernando Alfonso Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Amazon will now deliver beer and wine almost immediately in Houston," 20 June 2018 But in the case of taxing textiles and denim (Levi’s specifically), which aren’t even items the United States counts among its top exports, what's the point?, "Why Is The European Union Going After Our Jeans?," 1 June 2018 Hampton did not know what items Eastland was suspected of taking from the store. Nashelly Chavez, sacbee, "Shoplifting suspect dies after brawl with Carmichael grocery store security | The Sacramento Bee," 14 May 2018 Explore the unique, and one of a kind items up for bid in our extravagant silent auction. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Witamy - Welcome! A Texas-sized Polish party is slated for this weekend," 1 May 2018 For the first time ever, a Waffle House location in Georgia is adding a new, adults only item to their menu — beer. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Waffle House sells beer for first time at Georgia baseball stadium," 19 Apr. 2018 Figuring out via algorithms what items to offer shoppers has bedeviled retailers for years. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Macy's Ramps Up Tech Push With Virtual Reality and Personalized Online Shopping," 19 Mar. 2018 Teachers have rallied behind the family, donating clothes, a winter coat, and whatever items their student may need. Helen Ubiñas,, "A young girl reminds us that #NotEverythingIsAwful | Helen Ubiñas," 8 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'item.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of item


1561, in the meaning defined at sense 5


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for item


Middle English, from Latin, from ita thus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about item

Statistics for item

Last Updated

27 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for item

The first known use of item was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for item



English Language Learners Definition of item

: an individual thing : a separate part or thing

: a separate piece of news or information

: two people who are in a romantic or sexual relationship


\ ˈī-təm \

Kids Definition of item

1 : a single thing in a list, account, or series

2 : a brief piece of news


\ ˈī-təm \

Legal Definition of item 

1 : a distinct part in an enumeration, account, or series

2 : a financial instrument (as a check or draft)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on item

What made you want to look up item? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!