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

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Other Words from ponder

ponderer \ ˈpän-​dər-​ər How to pronounce ponderer (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web If ever there was a week to ponder the current state of leadership in general, this was it. Fortune, "The Fortune 500 gets another female CEO," 13 Mar. 2020 Luckily all those players have time to ponder their futures. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Unforgettable final week capped coronavirus-shortened Kentucky basketball season," 12 Mar. 2020 Nothing could be more vital for CNN viewers and readers than to ponder a ranking of all the Democratic contenders based on little more than white puffs of smoke. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Political Media’s Blurred Reality," 12 Mar. 2020 Public-health officials have started urging citizens to ponder self-quarantine in the event of illness, even though many workers don’t have the luxury of staying home sick anyway. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "You Already Live in Quarantine," 4 Mar. 2020 There is a lot to ponder on the interior walls, beginning with a copy of Marie Kenney’s obituary and extending to oddities donated by customers. John Maccormack, ExpressNews.com, "At Kenney’s Food Store, the friendships go back decades," 15 Feb. 2020 Bryant was two months younger than Garnett, which of course forces him, as well as all of us, to ponder our mortality. Gary Washburn, BostonGlobe.com, "Kevin Garnett overwhelmed after being named Hall of Fame finalist," 14 Feb. 2020 Jess, in the heady presence of a glamorous professor and fascinating new classmates, soon has occasion to ponder such matters in earnest. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: Five Faces of Murder," 24 Jan. 2020 Last September, Derek Schmidt, the attorney general for Kansas, sat down to ponder the specifics. Michael Waters, Wired, "The Future of Death-Tech Has No Rules—Yet," 24 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for ponder

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ponder

Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ponder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ponder. Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for ponder


How to pronounce ponder (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ponder

: to think about or consider (something) carefully


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ponder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ponder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ponder

Spanish Central: Translation of ponder

Nglish: Translation of ponder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ponder for Arabic Speakers

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