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 While the college football world ponders the serendipity of Mike Leach in the SEC, the ripple effects might be felt in Oklahoma and the Big 12. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "Why the aftermath of Mississippi State’s hiring of Mike Leach could effect Oklahoma’s Alex Grinch," 10 Jan. 2020 The good news is that researchers, professional societies, and conference organizers are beginning to ponder on these questions. Esther Ngumbi, Wired, "Science Conferences Are Stuck in the Dark Ages," 3 Jan. 2020 Practically speaking, it’s three hours of wind blowing through tall grasses as floating voiceover narration ponders the nature of existence. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "‘A Hidden Life’ a sublime moral meditation from Terrence Malick," 19 Dec. 2019 The receiver trio of Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs will play in the Citrus Bowl while pondering the same binary question as injured QB Tua Tagovailoa. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Analyzing how Alabama recruiting class will fix the issues that troubled 2019," 19 Dec. 2019 Given that the Little Rock overpass project, vastly smaller, costs about $10 million, this caused us to ponder the power of inflation. Frank Fellone, Arkansas Online, "DRIVETIME MAHATMA: No holdup for trains worth wait," 28 Dec. 2019 When to listen: In the shower In the mood to ponder your mortality and the futility of all existence? Adam Epstein, Quartz, "The best 2019 film and TV scores for every mood," 18 Dec. 2019 Or ponder the consumption arms race driven by big outlets. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thanks for all the sunny days," 9 Dec. 2019 Policymakers will in response naturally and rightly ponder such economic questions as whether employment can be made more stable and raising a family more affordable. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 5 Dec. 2019

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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ponder.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ponder. Accessed 28 January 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

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).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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