pon·​der | \ ˈpän-dər How to pronounce ponder (audio) \
pondered; pondering\ ˈpän-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce ponder (audio) \

Definition of ponder

transitive verb

1 : to weigh in the mind : appraise pondered their chances of success
2 : to think about : reflect on pondered the events of the day

intransitive verb

: to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply

Other Words from ponder

ponderer \ ˈpän-​dər-​ər How to pronounce ponder (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ponder

ponder, meditate, muse, ruminate mean to consider or examine attentively or deliberately. ponder implies a careful weighing of a problem or, often, prolonged inconclusive thinking about a matter. pondered the course of action meditate implies a definite focusing of one's thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply. meditated on the meaning of life muse suggests a more or less focused daydreaming as in remembrance. mused upon childhood joys ruminate implies going over the same matter in one's thoughts again and again but suggests little of either purposive thinking or rapt absorption. ruminated on past disappointments

Examples of ponder in a Sentence

He pondered the question before he answered. The team pondered their chances of success. We pondered whether we could afford the trip.
Recent Examples on the Web Aftermath: While the Astros fine tune and ponder how to enjoy a first-round bye, Cleveland can’t directly chase down the Twins until seven games in September. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2022 As Americans grapple with the stiffest inflation in 40 years, many workers may ponder another milestone today: It's been exactly 13 years since the last time the U.S. raised the federal minimum wage. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 25 July 2022 As Highland Park officials ponder their legal response to the Independence Day mass shooting that killed seven people and injured dozens more, a slow-moving case just over the state line suggests one possible path. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 18 July 2022 Hoffman hopes the exhibit will be a space where people can ponder the complicated nature of the Morro Bay landing and the violence of colonialism. Los Angeles Times, 5 July 2022 Here’s a thought to ponder over the 4th of July weekend. Alan Murray, Fortune, 1 July 2022 The essay — and her new novel — led Albert to ponder her own maternity. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2022 Jordan Lyles needed a second to ponder the question. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 23 June 2022 At this time, Kimmel's contract with ABC ends in 2023, which has prompted Kimmel to ponder his next steps. Dory Jackson, PEOPLE.com, 3 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of ponder

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for ponder

Middle English, from Middle French ponderer, from Latin ponderare to weigh, ponder, from ponder-, pondus weight — more at pendant

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Time Traveler for ponder

Time Traveler

The first known use of ponder was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near ponder

pond duck



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Last Updated

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ponder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ponder. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for ponder


pon·​der | \ ˈpän-dər How to pronounce ponder (audio) \
pondered; pondering

Kids Definition of ponder

: to think over carefully Stacey pondered the suggestion for a long moment …— Mildred D. Taylor, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

More from Merriam-Webster on ponder

Nglish: Translation of ponder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ponder for Arabic Speakers


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