pon·​der | \ ˈpän-dər \
pondered; pondering\ ˈpän-​d(ə-​)riŋ \

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

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Other Words from ponder

ponderer \ ˈpän-​dər-​ər \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The four-hour journey northeast to Tegernsee from Zurich is an especially picturesque trip for pondering such a puzzle. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Perfect Long Weekend in Bavaria," 17 Sep. 2018 Instead of pondering the State of the State of Ohio or New Hampshire, Kasich used his bully pulpit to sermonize on his and the rest of humanity's state of mind and soul. Jeff Darcy, cleveland.com, "Trump steel tariffs are corrosive: Darcy cartoon," 11 Mar. 2018 That project must have burned him out on pondering the intricacies of the human mind; along with the tunnel, he's dropped the hypnosis subplot that winds through VanderMeer's novel like a creeping vine of paranoia. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Annihilation preserves the source novel’s biological nightmare but dispenses with its mounting paranoia," 1 Mar. 2018 Despite the optimism, no agreement was finalized, and even as congressional leaders were sounding an upbeat note, Trump was raising tensions by openly pondering a shutdown if Democrats did not agree to his immigration policies. Author: Erica Werner, Mike Debonis, Anchorage Daily News, "Sweeping budget deal would add $400 billion in federal spending," 7 Feb. 2018 That hasn't stopped them from pondering what will happen afterward. USA TODAY, "Many big-name skaters headed to Winter Games for final time," 4 Feb. 2018 Trump is pondering a crude coal bailout involving national emergency powers in the Federal Power Act. David Roberts, Vox, "California’s huge energy decision: link its grid to its neighbors, or stay autonomous?," 23 Aug. 2018 Soccer insiders are now pondering an alarming question: What if the next few Premier League seasons all turn into preludes to Manchester City open-top bus parades? Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "The English Premier League Has a Manchester City Problem," 9 Aug. 2018 So, questions to ponder over the hiatus: Is the Gargoyle King real? Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale's Winter Finale Finally Solves the Gargoyle King Mystery," 13 Dec. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for ponder

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ponder

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

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More Definitions for ponder



English Language Learners Definition of ponder

: to think about or consider (something) carefully


pon·​der | \ ˈpän-dər \
pondered; pondering

Kids Definition of ponder

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ponder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ponder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ponder

Spanish Central: Translation of ponder

Nglish: Translation of ponder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ponder for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ponder

What made you want to look up ponder? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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