non·​sense | \ ˌnän-ˌsen(t)s How to pronounce nonsense (audio) , ˈnän(t)-sən(t)s \

Definition of nonsense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : words or language having no meaning or conveying no intelligible ideas "And the mome raths outgrabe" is pure nonsense.
b(1) : language, conduct, or an idea that is absurd or contrary to good sense To regard the struggle for existence as tragic, however, is logical nonsense.— O. B. Hardison Jr.
(2) : an instance of absurd action Today's teenagers are … sharp observers of the nonsenses of adult life and society …— Bernard Trafford
2a : things of no importance or value : trifles the raincoats are classic, without any nonsenseNew Yorker
b : affected or impudent conduct took no nonsense from subordinates The teacher tolerated no nonsense in her classroom.
3 : genetic information consisting of one or more codons that do not code for any amino acid and usually cause termination of the molecular chain in protein synthesis (see synthesis sense 1)



Definition of nonsense (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : consisting of an arbitrary grouping of speech sounds or symbols \ˈshrȯg-ˌthī-əmpth\ is a nonsense word a nonsense syllable
2 : consisting of one or more codons that are genetic nonsense — compare antisense, missense

Other Words from nonsense


nonsensical \ ˌnän-​ˈsen(t)-​si-​kəl How to pronounce nonsense (audio) \ adjective
nonsensically \ ˌnän-​ˈsen(t)-​si-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce nonsense (audio) \ adverb
nonsensicalness \ ˌnän-​ˈsen(t)-​si-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce nonsense (audio) \ noun

Examples of nonsense in a Sentence

Noun I don't know why you believe that nonsense about certain numbers being unlucky. She thinks that astrology is nonsense. Don't listen to him. He's talking nonsense. He was not in the mood to put up with any nonsense from his little brother. If they start pushing each other or some such nonsense, send them to their rooms. She doesn't take any nonsense from anyone. Many of the words in the poem are nonsense. I understood so few of the words they were using that the conversation sounded like nonsense to me. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This is for men who are after a no-nonsense body wash that smells great and always gets you clean. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 May 2022 Her sister Frances, played with clear-eyed minimalism by Joy Yvonne Jones, is a no-nonsense civil rights activist willing to risk her life to end segregation. San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 May 2022 The no-nonsense thread garnered the interest of celebs including Alyssa Milano and Glennon Doyle who both have shared. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 20 May 2022 Javie had the steady voice of a no-nonsense-but-congenial army general. New York Times, 20 May 2022 Tia Marina is a no-nonsense badass woman; no one dares test her. Yesika Salgado,, 19 May 2022 With that metaphor of burying acorns for possible future growth in mind, the creative team behind the app tapped Walken to voice the character of a no-nonsense New York City squirrel to get ordinary people to start investing for their future. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 May 2022 But Zaleski is too no-nonsense — and too busy — to delve deeply into her psyche. Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2022 No matter what’s happening in the world, Amber responds to it with a charming mix of seriousness, nonsense, and of course, her signature bowties. Rivea Ruff, Essence, 15 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Much of what is said about critical race theory is nonsense; much of it is not. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 17 Mar. 2022 While pro-Russians have since then constructed a myth of Ukrainian Nazis incinerating them in a modern-day pogrom, that is clearly nonsense, like Putin recently babbling about an imaginary Ukrainian genocide against Russian-speakers. Tim Judah, The New York Review of Books, 19 Feb. 2022 Sharon Stone also gets mileage out of playing the wry, no nonsense counterpoint to Arnett’s wild card, and even gets in a few solid jokes of her own. Caroline Framke, Variety, 3 Feb. 2022 Defense attorneys said that was nonsense, that McIver loved his wife dearly and her death was a terrible accident. Kate Brumback, ajc, 18 Jan. 2022 Then, the words are repeated in an unfamiliar language, followed by nonsense words. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 8 Jan. 2022 That legal clarity is why those fussy arguments against the coin are nonsense. Ryan Cooper, The Week, 6 Oct. 2021 Blaming venture capitalists for enslaving Web3 to its incentives or for the systemic violation of human rights or even for causing a single fintech startup to mislead investors is nonsense. Ron Shevlin, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2021 By definition, a limerick is a nonsense poem of five anapestic lines, of which lines one, two and five are of three feet and rhyme and lines three and four are of two feet and rhyme. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of nonsense


1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for nonsense

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The first known use of nonsense was in 1612

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Dictionary Entries Near nonsense



nonsense verse

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Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nonsense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for nonsense


non·​sense | \ ˈnän-ˌsens How to pronounce nonsense (audio) , -səns \

Kids Definition of nonsense

: foolish or meaningless words, ideas, or actions Don't believe such nonsense.


non·​sense | \ ˈnän-ˌsen(t)s, ˈnän(t)-sən(t)s How to pronounce nonsense (audio) \

Medical Definition of nonsense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: genetic information consisting of one or more codons that do not code for any amino acid and usually cause termination of the molecular chain in protein synthesis — compare antisense, missense



Medical Definition of nonsense (Entry 2 of 2)

: consisting of one or more codons that are genetic nonsense nonsense mutations

More from Merriam-Webster on nonsense

Nglish: Translation of nonsense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nonsense for Arabic Speakers


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