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 Along the way, Bubbles, a five-year-old penguin, Maggie, a seven-year-old little lady, and Berkley, an eight-year-old waddler, got to check out the art and even pick a few favorite pieces to ponder over. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Watch These Very Cultured Penguins Get a Private Tour of an Art Museum," 18 May 2020 In the late 1950s, as NASA pondered how to launch humans into space and bring them safely home, Johnson’s responsibilities shifted to calculating orbital trajectories. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Remembering Katherine Johnson, NASA's 'Hidden Figures' hero, for her love of numbers," 24 Feb. 2020 But Weigel ended his reflection, published in First Things, with an excellent observation that is well worth pondering. Daniel J. Mahoney, National Review, "Pope Francis, Wayward Shepherd," 6 Feb. 2020 Nakano said, referring to a conservative backlash that arose as Koizumi publicly pondered the move. Motoko Rich, BostonGlobe.com, "A Japanese politician is taking paternity leave. It’s a big deal.," 15 Jan. 2020 Yet if Bey overstates his case, his words and images still are worth pondering, particularly as Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her chief planner, Maurice Cox, seek to rebuild the struggling portions of the South Side. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Column: An eye-opening book shows that Chicago’s much-maligned South Side is stocked with architectural treasures. Many (but not all) have been overlooked.," 3 Oct. 2019 That sounds a whole lot more responsible than what MLB is pondering. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: C'mon, Major League Baseball, you can't be serious," 7 Apr. 2020 Official remarks: The Trump administration is pondering whether to urge all Americans to wear face masks. Isabella Kwai, New York Times, "Coronavirus, U.S. Unemployment, Policing: Your Friday Briefing," 3 Apr. 2020 The team is pondering a claim for guard Jordan McRae, according to Yahoo! Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Derrick Rose facing disappointing end to stellar season with ankle injury," 3 Mar. 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

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ponder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ponder. Accessed 1 Jun. 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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