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

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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 Suddenly the Mets’ blue and orange went bright neon, like Dylan’s going electric. Devin Gordon Kiese Makeba Laymon Carina Del Valle Schorske Dessa Irina Aleksander Sam Dolnick Mark Binelli Maggie Jones Rob Hoerburger Jamie Lauren Keiles Jazmine Hughes Jenna Wortham Jade Chang Taffy Brodesser-akner Kaitlyn Greenidge Reginald Dwayne Betts Rowan Ricardo Phillips Michael Paterniti Wesley Morris Ismail Muhammad Anthony Giardina, New York Times, "Even the greatest Met ever could have his heart broken by the Mets.," 24 Dec. 2020 The same holds for the towering sign that traces the Tujague’s name in green neon over Decatur Street. Ian Mcnulty,, "Tujague’s, second-oldest New Orleans restaurant, reopens in new French Quarter home," 24 Dec. 2020 Its wedge shape rhymes the urban curve where Connecticut Avenue meets the traffic circle even as its natural materials depart from surrounding asphalt and neon. Kriston Capps, Washington Post, "These artists point to social upheaval — and one simple solution," 28 Oct. 2020 Fill it with a variety of nonaggressive fish—like neon and cardinal tetras—and cute aquarium decor. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "The best fish tanks for every space," 8 Oct. 2020 Air is 78 percent nitrogen and just under 21 percent oxygen, and the rest is water vapor, CO2, and small concentrations of noble gases such as neon and argon. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Should You Really Put Nitrogen in Your Car Tires?," 28 Sep. 2020 But the 3,000-pound block of labradorite was not there before, and neither was that wall of rock that turns neon in ultraviolet light. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "An Exclusive First Look Inside the American Museum of Natural History's New Hall of Minerals and Gems," 14 Dec. 2020 Marshall famously wore neon green cleats during a game (drawing a $10,500 fine) to promote Mental Health Awareness Week. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Ex-NFL player Brandon Marshall sets his sights on trying to make Americans healthier," 12 Dec. 2020 Post Market draws inspiration from both the neon of night markets and the now-defunct Houston music festival Day for Night, formally held at the building. Marcy De Luna, Chron, "Downtown's Post Houston announces six food hall vendors," 10 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Instead of a Torah ark, the crates face a pink-and-green neon sign: a cricket inside a heart. Anna Kordunsky, The New Yorker, "The Case for Eating Crickets," 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, "Despite losing out on spring break vacationers, Wisconsin Dells businesses remain optimistic about summer," 22 May 2020 The building’s other neon sign is attached to the side and advertises the parking spaces. Jon Arnold, Dallas News, "Historic Downtown McKinney sign lifted into place atop cultural district," 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, "Games getting us through COVID-19—blocks, roguelites, whatever Death Stranding is," 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, "The vintage neon Prescott Valley Motel sign has been saved. Here's what's next," 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,, "Thousands pick up SF trash for Battle for the Bay," 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, "North West Looks So Much Like Kim Kardashian in Her Labor Day Weekend Instagram Posts," 2 Sep. 2019 Guerra’s mural was a caricature of John Spacely on a grand scale, his bleach-blond hair, signature eye patch, and dangling cross earring blaring in neon colors against a black background. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Jimmy Webb’s Undying Love for New York City (and Tight Pants)," 22 Apr. 2020

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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Learn More about neon

Statistics for neon

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Neon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for neon


How to pronounce neon (audio)

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

Nglish: Translation of neon for Spanish Speakers

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

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