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 First, why would a billionaire and the first black governor of Massachusetts each suddenly be pondering a run for president? The Christian Science Monitor, "Overcoming, not succumbing to, stress," 12 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, more communities are pondering the consequences of increased tidal flooding and the costs of countering it. Daniel Cusick, Scientific American, "As Seas Rise, King Tides Increasingly Inundate the Atlantic Coast," 6 Nov. 2019 The Zuckerberg hearings indicate that lawmakers might ponder, at most, consumer-data privacy regulation for companies like Facebook and Google. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Dot-Coms Were Better Than Facebook," 13 Apr. 2018 On Friday, Reynaldo Medina sat in the shade under a street taco stand in downtown Juárez with his wife, Marlena, and son Reynaldo Jr., pondering what to do next. Dallas News, "Mexico wrestles with its identity as the national guard helps Trump and López Obrador crack down on migrants," 29 June 2019 After long weeks of watching the show and pondering its dubious joys, only one explanation for Friends’ endurance accounts for both its cultural conservatism and its sparkling, juvenile humor. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Mysteriously Enduring Appeal of Friends," 10 Sep. 2019 What is written, said and pondered outside the six-state footprint impacts (directly or indirectly) what happens inside the footprint whether those inside the footprint like it or not. Jon Wilner, The Denver Post, "Pac-12 coaches under fire: Petersen, Shaw, Kelly face national media scrutiny following bad losses," 10 Sep. 2019 Various poems draw upon the poet walking and pondering. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "New collection brings together Alaska poet John Morgan’s impressive early work," 9 Sep. 2019 Immediately after the news broke, speculation began percolating about who Democratic party leadership would be able to recruit, with many pundits pondering whether this vacancy could convince Stacey Abrams to jump into the ring. Alana Abramson, Time, "Sen. Johnny Isakson Announces Retirement – Leaving 2 Georgia Senate Seats Up for Grabs in 2020," 28 Aug. 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

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ponder.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pondered. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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strength of mind

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