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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web But with professional opportunities limited as teams around the world recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 6-foot-9 big man had to ponder his options. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, ""When Coach K calls, you got to pick up": Theo John talks about transfer to Duke after four years at Marquette," 24 Apr. 2021 Feel free to ponder the physics of it all while taking in the surrounding grassy hills. Erin Berger, Outside Online, "Desert X Is the Artsiest Drive in the U.S.," 17 Apr. 2021 But Loyo and Martinez do have to ponder that possibility. USA Today, "For Dreamers, a Senate vote and a Texas judge stand between citizenship and deportation," 14 Apr. 2021 Beckett followed an elliptical path in a rapid-fire, 15-minute monologue to ponder what makes up a person’s conception of the self. Los Angeles Times, "Review: LACMA reopens with six shows that hint to what the future museum will be like," 1 Apr. 2021 Amid all these practical considerations, don’t forget to ponder the miracle of the cicada’s long absence followed by its moment in the sun. Washington Post, "The cicadas are coming. But gardeners need not panic.," 31 Mar. 2021 At 57, after a career filled with patented inventions and the launch of three electronics companies, Sontheimer and his wife, Shirley, traveled to France to ponder what was next. John Birdsall, Bon Appétit, "How a Single Appliance Made Americans Better Cooks," 23 Mar. 2021 The thought of Marleau breaking the record in a Cup-contending team’s colors is not something the organization wants to ponder. Ross Mckeon, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sharks end winless streak by edging Kings," 22 Mar. 2021 Anyone looking for the Cowboys’ offensive leader needs not to ponder that person’s identity. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Entering free agency, Cowboys need to prioritize leadership, culture changers for their defense," 14 Mar. 2021

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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ponder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ponder. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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 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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