non·​word ˌnän-ˈwərd How to pronounce nonword (audio)
: a word that has no meaning, is not known to exist, or is disapproved

Examples of nonword in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pigeons mastered that task and transferred their knowledge to new sets of words and nonwords by using spelling strategies akin to those practiced by primary school pupils. Onur Güntürkün, Scientific American, 1 Jan. 2020 Researchers conducted online surveys in which Americans rated the humor value of 120,000 words and nonwords, then used computers to analyze the data. Matthew Hutson, Science | AAAS, 17 June 2019 But critics say the name will teach children a nonword. Melissa Gray, CNN, 15 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonword.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1961, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonword was in 1961

Dictionary Entries Near nonword

Cite this Entry

“Nonword.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

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