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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

In a phone interview from his spread in Santa Barbara, Calif., Costner, 63 and good-naturedly laconic, pondered the allure of the western, Manifest Destiny, and plans for his second act. Kathryn Shattuck, BostonGlobe.com, "Kevin Costner saddles up for a modern-day TV western," 10 June 2018 Indeed, a few days on this magic island makes one ponder the possibilities of becoming a permanent beach bum before reality sets in. Clifford Pugh, San Antonio Express-News, "Anna Maria Island a time capsule of simpler times in Florida," 5 June 2018 Parker, a Merrillville assistant, didn’t need to ponder the possibility again when Pete Koulianos resigned after three seasons as Wildcats coach. Mike Hutton, Post-Tribune, "Veteran Merrillville assistant Brian Parker named Hanover Central football coach," 26 Apr. 2018 New Orleans has pondered the possibility of drafting a quarterback in recent years, as a successor to 39-year-old Drew Brees. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "Lamar Jackson and Jaire Alexander reportedly met with these NFL teams before the draft," 24 Apr. 2018 But ponder the possibilities: Open the season with June weather. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc: Xavier Musketeers' Chris Mack has it good here. Better than Louisville.," 22 Mar. 2018 Even after achieving all of that, Sweden were still pondering a recall for Zlatan as recently as April. SI.com, "Warning Signs: How Sweden's Humble History Makers Survived and Thrived in the Post-Zlatan Era," 6 July 2018 But as the election nears, and Obrador’s victory seems all but assured, political observers ponder how much of his campaign trail populism will follow him into office. James Osborne, San Antonio Express-News, "As likely Mexican president Obrador softens tone, U.S. oil sector crosses fingers," 29 June 2018 Today’s Must-Reads Bloomberg’s Alan Crawford ponders the prospect of an EU without Angela Merkel, and says the nativism that has swept much of the continent imperils the German leader and the whole EU project. Ian Wishart, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Bulletin: Pandora’s Box," 27 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ponder

Statistics for ponder

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ponder

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!