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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The whole story is widely accepted but also completely transparent nonsense . . . Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "GameStop: Markets Adjust, Politicians Frown," 27 Feb. 2021 For as bad as Twitter seems to be some days, Facebook is an absolute hell-scape of misinformation, hate and pure insolvent nonsense. Curtis Silver, Forbes, "Twitter’s Super Follows Proposes A Subscription Model For Our Garbage Tweets," 26 Feb. 2021 In the meantime, ignore her nonsense and focus on your work. Roxane Gay, New York Times, "My Co-Worker Is a Scammer and She Gets on My Last Nerve," 22 Jan. 2021 The combination of a deadly global pandemic, racial reckoning and a devastating economic crisis meant that people had less patience for famous rich person nonsense. Washington Post, "10 celebrity apologies that capture the strange, bleak year that was 2020," 30 Dec. 2020 Some wise old heads considered this to be self-serving nonsense. New York Times, "K.C. Jones Never Got His Due in Boston. Race Played a Part.," 29 Dec. 2020 How is Congressman Jim Jordan putting Ohio back in the spotlight for nonsense with his support of efforts to subvert the voters and invalidate the election of Joe Biden as president? Laura Johnston, cleveland, "Is U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan embarrassing Ohio with his work to subvert the election of Joe Biden? This Week in the CLE," 18 Dec. 2020 When Sue began studying the impact of microaggressions, many of his White colleagues told him his work was making a mountain out of a molehill, that microaggressions were just macro nonsense. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, "Racial microaggressions take a major toll on Black Americans," 4 Dec. 2020 The idea that Minnesota could be counting votes received a week after the election is complete nonsense. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: At the polls, ballot-counting, judicial branch," 30 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective For comparison, the researchers also said nonsense words that sounded nothing like the command. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Dogs Can’t Tell the Difference Between Similar-Sounding Words," 11 Dec. 2020 Nonsense dressed up in statistical jargon is still nonsense. Eric Litke, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Statistical analysis supporting pro-Trump Supreme Court case is 'ludicrous'," 11 Dec. 2020 The distinction was superficially plausible but nonsense upon inspection, for at least two reasons. Ankush Khardori, The New Republic, "No One’s Hands Are Clean at the Justice Department," 13 Oct. 2020 The malicious script is called by a single line that comprises mostly nonsense characters when viewed with the human eye. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Boom! Hacked page on mobile phone website is stealing customers’ card data," 5 Oct. 2020 All of that is nonsense — just more attempts to discredit QAnon, Cook said. Nathan Bomey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How QAnon, a fringe online movement, is drawing followers in Wisconsin and across the U.S. with a stew of conspiracies," 4 Sep. 2020 On the podcast Social Distance, staff writer James Hamblin explains why these claims are mostly nonsense (and have been for years), and executive producer Katherine Wells asks him about vitamins. The Atlantic, "Listen: The Empty Promise of Vitamins," 17 June 2020 But even without the virus crisis, Philip would have sought to downplay public folderol about his birthday, in keeping with his non-nonsense personality. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Prince Philip turns 99: The Queen's husband marks a historic birthday in no-fuss way," 11 June 2020 The Trump administration has eschewed science and medicine, and is now having him give nonsense press conferences that the few medical experts left in our government have to follow up and correct. Erica Sackin,, "I’m Pregnant & I’m Scared Trump’s Incompetence Is Putting My Baby At Risk," 22 Apr. 2020

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.

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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

Time Traveler

The first known use of nonsense was in 1612

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Statistics for nonsense

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nonsense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for nonsense



English Language Learners Definition of nonsense

: words or ideas that are foolish or untrue
: behavior that is silly, annoying, or unkind
: language that has no meaning


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

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