ne·​on | \ ˈnē-ˌän How to pronounce neon (audio) \

Definition of neon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a nonmetallic chemical element that is found in minute amounts in air and is used especially in electric lamps, in lasers, and as a cryogenic refrigerant — see Chemical Elements Table
2a : a discharge lamp in which the gas contains a large proportion of neon
b : a sign composed of such lamps
c : the illumination provided by such lamps or signs



Definition of neon (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or using neon
2 : extremely bright : fluorescent neon yellow

Other Words from neon


neoned \ ˈnē-​ˌänd How to pronounce neon (audio) \ adjective

Examples of neon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Your once-perfect little neon egg suddenly becomes overtaken by a mess of foundation stains and streaks of old eyeliner. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, 18 May 2022 The accents, including a yellow neon depiction of corn alongside the great table, signal the restaurant’s theme without resorting to the design equivalent of bullhorns. Washington Post, 18 May 2022 Bounce, a neon coral large polka dot on a blue-green gingham, awaits a beach picnic! Kristen Philipkoski, Forbes, 17 May 2022 Bateman opted for a multi-colored lid edged in vibrant dots—the better to match her neon mane—while Jones leaned into peach, the hue adorning lids, cheeks, and lips alike. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 15 May 2022 Preakness Stakes, a man in a neon yellow T-shirt rolled a fresh coat of white paint onto the aging facade of the Pimlico Race Course one recent morning. Hayes Gardner, Baltimore Sun, 13 May 2022 After dusk, the course becomes Glow Golf with glow-in-the-dark golf balls, golf flag poles and neon glow sticks. Tanya Wildt, Detroit Free Press, 12 May 2022 Elsewhere, though, there are jolts of neon futurism. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, 10 May 2022 This glorious moment is known as bud break, when the vines glow in a neon green hue with fresh new leaves. Kathryn Romeyn, Travel + Leisure, 8 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Fruity Sandwich cookies from Kroger were blindingly neon and surprisingly tasty. Hallie Lieberman, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Apr. 2022 Instead of a Torah ark, the crates face a pink-and-green neon sign: a cricket inside a heart. Anna Kordunsky, The New Yorker, 28 May 2020 On a normal night, storefronts light up the street with neon signs, beckoning customers with promises of trinkets or ice cold beer. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 May 2020 The building’s other neon sign is attached to the side and advertises the parking spaces. Jon Arnold, Dallas News, 8 May 2020 While Death Stranding might as well explain itself with giant neon signs, its themes and setting are eerily prescient right now. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, 25 Apr. 2020 Piece by piece, the Prescott Valley Motel neon sign that glowed for decades was taken down by a crane this month, making way for a Circle K gas station to open where the motel once stood. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, 14 Apr. 2020 Mayor London Breed joined more than 400 people at Islais Creek Park in the morning and rallied the crowd in their neon orange vests. Lauren Hernández,, 21 Sep. 2019 Obviously enjoying Labor Day weekend, Kim also shared a photo of North hanging out with her friends, all of whom coordinated their looks by wearing neon outfits. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 2 Sep. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of neon


1898, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for neon


borrowed from Greek néon, neuter of néos "young, fresh, new" — more at new entry 1

Note: Name given to the gas by its discoverers, the British chemists William Ramsay (1852-1916) and Morris William Travers (1872-1961) in "On the Companion of Argon," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, vol. 63 (1898), p. 438. According to a later account by Travers, the Latin name novum, "new," for the gas was suggested by William Ramsay's 13-year old son, and rendered in Greek by Ramsay to match the names of other recently discovered gases (see Morris W. Travers, The Discovery of the Rare Gases, London, 1928, p. 96).

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Neon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for neon


ne·​on | \ ˈnē-ˌän How to pronounce neon (audio) \

Kids Definition of neon

: a colorless gaseous chemical element found in very small amounts in the air and used in electric lights


ne·​on | \ ˈnē-ˌän How to pronounce neon (audio) \

Medical Definition of neon

: a colorless odorless primarily inert gaseous element found in minute amounts in air and used in electric lamps symbol Ne — see Chemical Elements Table

More from Merriam-Webster on neon

Nglish: Translation of neon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neon for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about neon


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