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mean·​ing ˈmē-niŋ How to pronounce meaning (audio)
: the thing one intends to convey especially by language : purport
Do not mistake my meaning.
: the thing that is conveyed especially by language : import
Many words have more than one meaning.
: 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
: the logical connotation of a word or phrase
: the logical denotation or extension of a word or phrase


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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

Examples of meaning in a Sentence

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
And yet… Chase has never wanted to fully explain the meaning of that cut to black, nor of what exactly happened right after. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 16 Apr. 2024 Its meanings run the gamut from the negative to the positive, from the overpowering to the mysterious, from anarchy to sublimity. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for meaning 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'meaning.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


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


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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: the sense one intends to communicate especially by language
do not mistake my meaning
: the sense that is communicated
the poem's meaning is clear
: intent to communicate information : significance
a glance full of meaning


2 of 2 adjective
: conveying or intended to convey meaning : significant
a meaning look

More from Merriam-Webster on meaning

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