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 Ridley Scott's 1982 classic, a sci-fi opus bathed in dirty neon and dystopic grime, is set in 2019 Los Angeles, a time period that must have seemed as radically far off to the filmmakers back then as its more recent sequel's 2049 setting does today. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "5 Movies You Completely Forgot Were Set at Thanksgiving," 28 Nov. 2019 Vegan Mob’s bright green building, a color that skews toward neon and has been a part of the brand’s logo since its inception, has multiple walk-up windows where guests can order and pick up food. Justin Phillips,, "Vegan Mob re-opens in Oakland after selling out of food on opening day," 8 Oct. 2019 The looks at Milan Fashion Week are also showing us more amazing ways to try the playful neon and dreamy watercolor eye-makeup trends. Allure, "The Most Brilliant Hair & Makeup Moments From the Shows at Milan Fashion Week Spring 2020," 18 Sep. 2019 This was a continuation of our Resort 2020 collection, and that collection has tons of neons and brights. Nandi Howard, Essence, "NYFW: Greta Constantine Is Having A Long-Running Career In The Fashion Industry," 16 Sep. 2019 Getty Images Accepting the Trailblazer Award at the Industry Dance Awards, Jenna Dewan was glittery perfection in a neon and black dress. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Jenna Dewan Looks Like a Disco Ball in Gorgeous Dress as She Accepts a Prestigious Award," 15 Aug. 2019 Photographer Louise Murray witnessed a stunning series of neon and flourescent colors during a trip into the darkest depths of the ocean. Fox News, "Stunning photo uncovers 'hidden light' of life deep in the ocean," 30 July 2019 The Roto-Sphere, however, needed new neon and wiring, a complete restoration. Michelle Pemberton, Indianapolis Star, "Whiteland's 'Sign Guy' is back at it with a new, glowing restoration," 10 July 2019 From the top: Air is 78 percent nitrogen, 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?," 19 Dec. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective For example, in the bedroom area there is a light-up canopy bed, a giant mural covered in Lisa Frank characters and a neon unicorn light. Hannah Chubb,, "You Can Relive Your ‘90s Childhood in This Insane Lisa Frank-Themed Hotel Room," 8 Oct. 2019 There is the neon light shining down from Lust Gentlemen’s Club just up the block. Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, "What it’s like on a 24-hour-picket line during one of the biggest strikes in recent history," 4 Oct. 2019 The two-story spot presents handcrafted cocktails and Texas beers, plus neon lights, a rooftop patio and an indoor slide. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "Where to eat and drink in Montrose and Midtown right now," 16 Sep. 2019 The photo, which GoldLink posted to Twitter, shows Justine bathed in neon green light, wearing ‘90s-style sunglasses with her hair pulled back and a few earrings decorating her ears. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Hailey Bieber Photographed Her Bestie Justine Skye and the Photos Are Stunning," 31 May 2019 Visually speaking, Klabin has accomplished something quite special with his directorial debut, The Wave's bright neon palette and giddily discombobulating sense of circular momentum replicating the look and feel of a particularly glorious trip. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch (and skip) in theaters and on Amazon Prime this weekend," 17 Jan. 2020 Festival-goers were freaky in a socially acceptable way, somewhere between Coachella and Burning Man, with a surplus of Grateful Dead shirts and neon spandex onesies. Jordan Runtagh,, "The Storming of Area 51: A Covert Journey to the Heart of America’s Worst-Kept Secret," 13 Jan. 2020 Dang Soft Serve provides families and Instagrammers alike with a neon 1980s backdrop for its soft-serve ice cream and French fries. Josie Sexton, The Know, "The biggest Denver restaurant trends of 2019," 27 Dec. 2019 There was a set of delicate, neon-polished toes covering the name that had replaced hers, and Orla followed them up to the rest of a girl who must have just finished college. Megan Angelo, Glamour, "An Exclusive Look at Megan Angelo's Debut Novel, Followers," 27 Dec. 2019

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

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Neon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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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

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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