no·​tion ˈnō-shən How to pronounce notion (audio)
: an individual's conception or impression of something known, experienced, or imagined
They had different notions of right and wrong.
: an inclusive general concept
arriving at the notion of lawIrving Babbitt
: a theory or belief held by a person or group
the notion of original sin
: a personal inclination : whim
He had a notion to try skydiving.
obsolete : mind, intellect
notions plural : small useful items : sundries
found the thread she wanted among the shop's notions
Choose the Right Synonym for notion

idea, concept, conception, thought, notion, impression mean what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan).

idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something assumed or vaguely sensed.

innovative ideas
my idea of paradise

concept may apply to the idea formed by consideration of instances of a species or genus or, more broadly, to any idea of what a thing ought to be.

a society with no concept of private property

conception is often interchangeable with concept; it may stress the process of imagining or formulating rather than the result.

our changing conception of what constitutes art

thought is likely to suggest the result of reflecting, reasoning, or meditating rather than of imagining.

commit your thoughts to paper

notion suggests an idea not much resolved by analysis or reflection and may suggest the capricious or accidental.

you have the oddest notions

impression applies to an idea or notion resulting immediately from some stimulation of the senses.

the first impression is of soaring height

Examples of notion in a Sentence

He has some pretty strange notions. She had a vague notion about what happened. The study disproves any notion that dolphins are not intelligent. She had a notion to try skydiving. a sewing shop that sells fabrics, books, tools, and notions
Recent Examples on the Web There’s a certain cognitive dissonance to the notion of such lo-fi tech being used to create a spaceship hundreds of years in the future. Sezin Devi Koehler,, 25 May 2024 However, experts who spoke to ABC News rejected the notion that the release of gasoline reserves would meaningfully lower prices at the pump. Max Zahn, ABC News, 24 May 2024 This idea was foundational to the Nazi notion of racial purity. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2024 In recent years, Portland has become a byword for fashionable left-wing guff, including the notion that crime and homelessness are little more than voluntary social constructs that are better fought with kind words and substantial welfare spending than with the assiduous enforcement of the law. The Editors, National Review, 23 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for notion 

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

Word History


Latin notion-, notio, from noscere

First Known Use

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(2)

Time Traveler
The first known use of notion was in 1531

Dictionary Entries Near notion

Cite this Entry

“Notion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


no·​tion ˈnō-shən How to pronounce notion (audio)
: idea sense 2, conception
have a notion of a poem's meaning
: a belief held : opinion
: a sudden wish or desire : whim
just had a notion to go home
plural : small useful articles (as pins, needles, or thread)

More from Merriam-Webster on notion

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