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

Definition of neon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a colorless odorless mostly inert gaseous element that is found in minute amounts in air and is used in electric lamps — 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

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Other Words from neon


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

Examples of neon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Every Friday night in towns and cities across Britain, neon trapeziums lure drunken men to gorge on greasy meat shaved from an elephant’s leg. 1843, "Don’t knock the doner kebab," 10 July 2019 There’s a neon smiley face from one of the original Burning Man heads. Angela Hill, The Mercury News, "John Law, iconic Bay Area prankster, now has his own ‘art’ show," 5 July 2019 Their neon green backpacks are now ubiquitous in Mexico City, as couriers zip from restaurants to apartments and office buildings. Martha Pskowski, The Verge, "Deaths and injuries don’t slow Uber Eats’ rapid expansion in Mexico," 3 July 2019 So Boehme, who’s wearing a neon-orange snowsuit that practically glows in the intense southern sun, finds another candidate. Stephen Witt, WIRED, "Fitted With Sensors, Antarctic Seals Track Water Temperatures," 25 June 2019 Gone is every last vintage flashing neon sign not pulled to safety and preserved by the the Valley Relics Museum or the Museum of Neon Art. San Diego Union-Tribune, "L.A. is losing its weird edges to bland, boxy and Instagram-friendly," 20 June 2019 Then, too, each of the two bars at Infinity is bracketed by a huge pair of pink neon phalluses, which glow in the night like homosexual icons. Sally Helgesen, Harper's magazine, "Shadow Dancing," 10 June 2019 She was last seen wearing a black jacket with neon green sleeves, blue jeans and black shoes. Max Londberg,, "Missing Cincinnati teen left a friend's house Thursday evening, never returned home," 8 June 2019 StreetLights' architects wisely didn't try to copy the Esquire's old neon covered façade. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Oak Lawn tower plan pays homage to Dallas' long-lost Esquire Theater," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Giddy tourists and locals pointed smart phones at darkened neon signs in Times Square and other places. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "New York's power is restored after Manhattan spent hours in the dark," 14 July 2019 Get some of Milwaukee's best frozen custard for your picture, or pose in front of one of Leon's neon signs that look straight out of the 1960s (and probably are). Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are 10 places you'll want to Instagram around Milwaukee this summer," 20 June 2019 Landmarks: Hillcrest’s neon sign at University and Fifth avenues was originally erected in 1940 and replicated with an LED sign in 2011. Martina Schimitschek, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hillcrest: Walkable, liveable community replaced rundown business district," 30 June 2019 The front room’s walls will feature funky framed pictures, masks and Wright’s collection of vintage neon beer signs. Ava Garcia, azcentral, "Here's what you need to know about Ted's Refreshments in downtown Tempe," 25 June 2019 After a New Year’s Eve-style countdown, the neon sign was relit to loud cheers and countless smartphone photos. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "San Jose’s iconic Dancing Pig sign restored to neon glory," 22 June 2019 The dining room also has a new lounge area, neon signs, backsplash behind the bar and long high-top tables. Samantha Incorvaia, azcentral, "Renovated Tempe Public Market Cafe reopening without co-owner and chef Aaron Chamberlin," 6 June 2019 In the music video, it's seen after the second verse, written in cursive on a neon sign in the background. Glamour, "Taylor Swift Just Dropped Another Huge Hint About Her New Album Title," 25 May 2019 Brandon Maxwell, a designer who in the past made mostly black dresses, embraced color at his show with hot pink, neon green, golden yellow and candy red. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "Back to the ’80s? No, It’s Spring Fashion," 15 Sep. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for neon

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for neon

The first known use of neon was in 1898

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More Definitions for neon



English Language Learners Definition of neon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a type of gas that is used in brightly colored electric signs and lights



English Language Learners Definition of neon (Entry 2 of 2)

: using neon
: extremely bright


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on neon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with neon

Spanish Central: Translation of neon

Nglish: Translation of neon for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on neon

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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