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 law Irving 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

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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 Scientists too are pushing back against the notion of a point-of-no-return for the planet. Xander Peters, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Sep. 2022 The notion of a signature as a unique representation of a particular individual gradually came to be enshrined in the law and accepted as legitimate legal evidence. Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, 16 Sep. 2022 The notion of a ‘balk’ as a hindrance also led to the word’s use as a verb meaning ‘to stop short,’ as when a horse, rather than jumping over an obstacle, turns away from it. Ben Zimmer, WSJ, 15 Sep. 2022 So, will the notion of work-life balance continue to evolve? Chris Desantis, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2022 The notion of having to request a new physical SIM card from a new carrier and asking your existing carrier to unlock your phone (a process that, on some older phones wasn’t even possible) was seen as a deterrent for many people to make the switch. Bob O'donnell, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2022 This combination of music and the notion of narrative, etc., doesn’t work. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2022 Of course, all of Guadagnino’s work deals with outsiders—from gay teenagers to Americans in strange lands, or some combination of the two—but here, the notion of disenfranchisement has different stakes. Douglas Greenwood, Vogue, 2 Sep. 2022 Considering Parma is already known for its popular wintertime Paczki Day, the notion of holding a bakery crawl makes all of the sense in the world. John Benson, cleveland, 31 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'notion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 1 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition



no·​tion ˈnō-shən How to pronounce notion (audio)
: idea sense 2
I haven't the faintest notion what to do.
: whim
We had a sudden notion to go swimming.
notions plural : small useful articles (as buttons, needles, and thread)

More from Merriam-Webster on notion

Last Updated: 23 Sep 2022

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