no·​tion ˈnō-shən How to pronounce notion (audio)
: an individual's conception or impression of something known, experienced, or imagined
They had different notions of right and wrong.
: an inclusive general concept
arriving at the notion of lawIrving Babbitt
: a theory or belief held by a person or group
the notion of original sin
: a personal inclination : whim
He had a notion to try skydiving.
obsolete : mind, intellect
notions plural : small useful items : sundries
found the thread she wanted among the shop's notions
Choose the Right Synonym for notion

idea, concept, conception, thought, notion, impression mean what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan).

idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something assumed or vaguely sensed.

innovative ideas
my idea of paradise

concept may apply to the idea formed by consideration of instances of a species or genus or, more broadly, to any idea of what a thing ought to be.

a society with no concept of private property

conception is often interchangeable with concept; it may stress the process of imagining or formulating rather than the result.

our changing conception of what constitutes art

thought is likely to suggest the result of reflecting, reasoning, or meditating rather than of imagining.

commit your thoughts to paper

notion suggests an idea not much resolved by analysis or reflection and may suggest the capricious or accidental.

you have the oddest notions

impression applies to an idea or notion resulting immediately from some stimulation of the senses.

the first impression is of soaring height

Example Sentences

He has some pretty strange notions. She had a vague notion about what happened. The study disproves any notion that dolphins are not intelligent. She had a notion to try skydiving. a sewing shop that sells fabrics, books, tools, and notions
Recent Examples on the Web But Paramount Network immediately shot down this notion with a telling statement. Jacqueline Saguin, Good Housekeeping, 25 Mar. 2023 The notion that all of these different entities simultaneously decided independently to scrap the same film, at the exact same time, just two days before its opening, strikes many inside and outside the Hong Kong industry as deeply suspicious. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Mar. 2023 Dealing with new security threats is taken for granted in the IT world, and the notion that systems might need to be patched on a weekly basis, as with Microsoft's Patch Tuesday, doesn't seem strange. Sameer Malhotra, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023 There’s the question of truth vs. beauty, and then there are the writers who discard the notion that the two should be at odds at all. Hanif Abdurraqib, The New Yorker, 22 Mar. 2023 There is empirical evidence consistent with the notion that some companies publicly highlight their focus on ESG as a smoke-screen for their sub-par business performance. Sanjai Bhagat, CNN, 22 Mar. 2023 Murphy also challenged the notion that Fox News acted with malice by knowingly promoting false claims, saying there is no evidence that any of the executives at parent company Fox Corp. were directly involved in the editorial content on the network. Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2023 Now, Signature Theatre is taking a crack at the 1976 musical, and that somewhere-in-between notion applies to this incarnation, staged by the company’s associate artistic director, Ethan Heard. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2023 The tweet went viral—this is what users had to say The notion that hiring managers would ask job candidates to go through the efforts of preparing, filming, and uploading a video—and ask such a personal question—didn’t go down well with most people. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 16 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'notion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin notion-, notio, from noscere

First Known Use

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(2)

Time Traveler
The first known use of notion was in 1531

Dictionary Entries Near notion

Cite this Entry

“Notion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


no·​tion ˈnō-shən How to pronounce notion (audio)
: idea sense 2, conception
have a notion of a poem's meaning
: a belief held : opinion
: a sudden wish or desire : whim
just had a notion to go home
plural : small useful articles (as pins, needles, or thread)

More from Merriam-Webster on notion

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