ne·​on | \ ˈnē-ˌän \

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 \ adjective

Examples of neon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Big sis Kendall also showed up with her man candy Ben Simmons, continuing her lime green holiday theme in a neon milkmaid top and leather pants. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Kylie Jenner’s New Year’s Eve Outfit Flaunted Major Boob," 2 Jan. 2019 Think all the heart-pounding tricks, escape attempts, and card magic ... but with lots of neon glowing lights. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Illusionists of 'America's Got Talent' Have a Surprisingly Familiar Face In Their Cast," 22 Aug. 2018 But plenty of skaters, from wobblers to experts, were undeterred, like the guy in green shorts and the woman in a neon yellow tank top. Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times, "Ice Rink or Pool? On a 78-Degree Winter Day, It Was Hard to Tell," 21 Feb. 2018 An exceedingly simple column of a coat, with an easeful dropped shoulder, is cut from soot-black wool with slim stripes, widely spaced, of neon pink. Laura Jacobs, WSJ, "‘Balenciaga in Black’ Review: Fashion Goes to the Dark Side," 9 Oct. 2018 Big windows that fit the building were added at the front of the bar, making the place feel open and friendly, and an endearing neon sign over the entry flicks on at night. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "International flavors, down at the corner bar, are an American experience," 3 July 2018 There's no more soft serve coming from the Dairy Queen on Mesa's Main Street, but the city has saved the ice cream shop's iconic neon sign. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Mesa donates $5,000 to save neon sign from closed Main Street Dairy Queen," 16 June 2018 Leaves of deciduous trees were fully unfolded, gorgeous neon green and not yet stenciled by insects. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "What it’s like to run circles for 24 hours around the land of no night," 9 June 2018 There's gambling and pool parties, sure, but also incredible eateries and the world's largest collection of neon signs. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Last-Minute Memorial Day Getaways," 14 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In addition, neon green is providing a color that gets energy moving—in physical, digestive, and mental realms. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Kendall Jenner’s Been Wearing a Lot of Neon Green—Here’s What It Means," 2 Jan. 2019 There, small, brand-new stores like Starbucks, Orangetheory Fitness and Clean Juice share a block with neon-green construction sites and Clear Springs Development Co., one of the major financiers of the site. Rachel Jones And Gavin Off, charlotteobserver, "This Charlotte suburb is booming faster than any other US city," 25 May 2018 The waiting area of LuckyChap, which is almost hidden in a nondescript bungalow on the Warner Bros. lot, is cast in a pink glow from the neon sign that bears the company name in loopy script. Christine Lennon, Harper's BAZAAR, "Margot Robbie on Changing Hollywood and Her Shocking Transformation Into Elizabeth I," 13 Nov. 2018 To some people, neon art just isn’t that interesting: a glowing glass tube is a glowing glass tube is a glowing glass tube. The Seattle Times, "Everything you need to know about the hottest tickets in town: Seattle events for November 2018," 26 Oct. 2018 Indeed, a row of golden retriever puppies, tucked into neon green bags and carried by the country's national police force canine unit, became a highlight of the parade. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Chile military parade offers a showcase for ... puppies?," 20 Sep. 2018 The room was dark at night, only a neon tube flickering. Andrada Fiscutean, Ars Technica, "The adventures of lab ED011—“Nobody would be able to duplicate what happened there”," 27 Aug. 2018 For starters, the neon sign in the lobby is actually white, not colorful. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "The Hidden Details In This Hotel Will Make You Never Want To Leave," 5 Nov. 2018 Wearing a neon vest Saturday morning, Lanie Fleischer clipped leafy branches in the wooded area off the popular Anchorage trail that bears her name. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Everybody’s got to do what they can’: Anchorage volunteers trim branches along city trail in effort to improve safety," 10 June 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

15 Jan 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 \

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 \

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

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