meaning

1 of 2

noun

mean·​ing ˈmē-niŋ How to pronounce meaning (audio)
1
a
: the thing one intends to convey especially by language : purport
Do not mistake my meaning.
b
: the thing that is conveyed especially by language : import
Many words have more than one meaning.
2
: something meant or intended : aim
a mischievous meaning was apparent
3
: significant quality
especially : implication of a hidden or special significance
a glance full of meaning
4
a
: the logical connotation of a word or phrase
b
: the logical denotation or extension of a word or phrase

meaning

2 of 2

adjective

somewhat old-fashioned
: conveying or intended to convey meaning : significant, meaningful
a meaning smile
When any mention was made of baronets either married or unmarried, of former lovers, of broken vows, or of second engagements, Miss Altifiorla would look with a meaning glance at her hostess. Anthony Trollope
Ruby lifted her heavy-lidded eyes and sent him a meaning look. Edna Ferber
meaningly adverb
She said: "I am not a very plucky girl." She looked up at me and added meaningly: "And you know it. And you know why." Joseph Conrad
"I have come about a private matter," he said, looking meaningly at Betty, who got up and began to move toward the door. P. G. Wodehouse

Example Sentences

Noun What is the precise meaning of this word in English? an old word that has taken on a new meaning The word has both literal meanings and figurative meanings. a word with various shades of meaning Don't distort her meaning by taking her words out of context. I didn't understand the meaning of his remark. Literary critics disagree about the meanings of his poems. a poem with subtle shades of meaning What is the meaning of life? It's a story about the true meaning of Christmas. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Motorcycle sales accordingly went up, as people tried to reconnect with the true meaning of speed. A-LIST, 24 Dec. 2017 As the story unfolds, the past catches up to the present and Mr. Sorkin keeps trying to invest Molly’s story with meaning, mostly through a little family psychodrama and some deeply unpersuasive feminism, including by casting her as a victim of men. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 24 Dec. 2017 Each of these ornaments holds a special meaning to me about that person. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, 22 Dec. 2017 The Boston Celtics added new meaning to stealing a win on the road. For The Win, 19 Dec. 2017 Yet, each of you can rejoice in the beauty and true meaning of the season. Columbia Flier, 12 Dec. 2017 In general, the nature or meaning of the information being delivered does not matter all that much, as long as some attention is being paid. The Economist, 4 Nov. 2017 Unraveling the meaning of the mummies therefore has the potential to reveal some of the deepest mysteries of a mysterious people. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, 10 Nov. 2017 The teen's mother says understanding the meaning of just one word the boy said could have stopped this whole situation, reports CBS News' Jamie Yuccas. CBS News, 21 Sep. 2017 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1726, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of meaning was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near meaning

Cite this Entry

“Meaning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meaning. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

meaning 1 of 2

noun

mean·​ing
ˈmē-niŋ
1
a
: the sense one intends to communicate especially by language
do not mistake my meaning
b
: the sense that is communicated
the poem's meaning is clear
2
3
: intent to communicate information : significance
a glance full of meaning

meaning

2 of 2

adjective

: conveying or intended to convey meaning : significant
a meaning look

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