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 nonsensical (audio) \ adjective
nonsensically \ ˌnän-​ˈsen(t)-​si-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce nonsensically (audio) \ adverb
nonsensicalness \ ˌnän-​ˈsen(t)-​si-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce nonsensicalness (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 But to suggest the owners don’t want to play ball this summer, in hopes of success at the bargaining table two seasons down the road, is nonsense. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: Fat chance MLB owners actually open their books. This is negotiating.," 14 May 2020 The idea that the wealthy in the United States are disciplined worshippers of an unfettered market is complete nonsense. Dean Baker, The New Republic, "Building an Economy That Works Again," 14 May 2020 Yeah, all that was just complete and utter nonsense. Reggie Ugwu, New York Times, "‘Westworld’ and ‘Devs’ Asked Big Questions. A Physicist Responds.," 4 May 2020 The hashtag #WhatWouldMagufuliDo? trended on Twitter during this honeymoon period and seen as a wake-up call for other African leaders to emulate the no-nonsense Tanzanian leader. Rabson Kondowe, Quartz Africa, "Tanzania’s president is blaming the sharp rise of coronavirus cases on faulty testing kits," 4 May 2020 Forget that nonsense about needing 1,000 foot-pounds of energy to kill a deer. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, "The 10 Best Handgun Hunting Cartridges and Loads," 24 Feb. 2020 Think of Lewis Carroll’s forensic interest in nonsense, Gertrude Stein’s or Beckett’s experimentation with repetition and baby talk. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "Wayne Koestenbaum’s Cerebral, Smutty Essays Playfully Disobey the Rules," 5 May 2020 Unlike their predecessors, these Pixel Buds are fully wireless — a.k.a none of that behind-the-ear cord nonsense of last time. Anabel Pasarow,, "Here’s How Google’s New Pixel Buds Compare To AirPods," 27 Apr. 2020 None of us really knows what tomorrow brings in this nonsense. Brice Paterik, Dallas News, "Rangers broadcaster Dave Raymond believes ‘everything is on the table’ for MLB’s 2020 season," 23 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Enter the humble, no-nonsense hand balm to the rescue. Karina Hoshikawa,, "11 Heavy Duty Hand Balms Because Your Skin’s Probably Feeling Pretty Raw Right Now," 20 Mar. 2020 Essentially, players barked nonsense orders at one other. Los Angeles Times, "IndieCade brings the future of underground gaming to Santa Monica," 13 Oct. 2019 So any attempt by anyone to claim that this is not a victory for Stormy Daniels is completely bogus and nonsense and dishonest. Brian Melley, The Seattle Times, "Porn star’s hush money suit against Trump could be tossed," 22 Jan. 2019 The group quickly changed its name to a string of nonsense characters, 'asdgrfhtyjujtrgefgrefgrtyuafw,' to mask its origins. Dan Patterson, CBS News, "8chan users are moving to Discord, where your kids are playing video games," 26 Aug. 2019 Vox Jia Tolentino makes sense out of this nonsense moment Elle What happens when Lyme Disease becomes an identity? Fortune, "The Disturbing World of Deepfakes: The Broadsheet," 25 July 2019 Stapleton’s no-nonsense half hour set the tone for the rest of the night, as a house band settled in to back solo slots from Taylor, Henley and Walsh without breaks. Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times, "Review: Joe Walsh’s VetsAid was a familial star-powered party at Tacoma Dome, raising $1.2 million," 12 Nov. 2018 Nac Un Ēd Ganību dambis 30 For traditional, no-nonsense Latvian fare, video and installation artist Katrīna Neiburga suggests Nac Un Ēd. Laura Bannister, Vogue, "Where to Go in Riga, Latvia, the New Arts Hub of the Baltic," 17 June 2018

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

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nonsense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for nonsense


How to pronounce nonsense (audio)

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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