Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Something that is conveyed or signified; sense or significance.
  • n. Something that one wishes to convey, especially by language: The writer's meaning was obscured by his convoluted prose.
  • n. An interpreted goal, intent, or end: "The central meaning of his pontificate is to restore papal authority” ( Conor Cruise O'Brien).
  • n. Inner significance: "But who can comprehend the meaning of the voice of the city?” ( O. Henry).
  • adj. Full of meaning; expressive.
  • adj. Disposed or intended in a specified manner. Often used in combination: a well-meaning fellow; ill-meaning intentions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The symbolic value of something.
  • n. The significance of a thing.
  • n. The objects or concept that a word or phrase denotes, or that which a sentence says.
  • n. intention
  • v. Present participle of mean.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which is meant or intended; intent; purpose; aim; object.
  • n. That which is signified, whether by act lanquage; signification; sense; import.
  • n. Sense; power of thinking.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Significant; expressing thought or purpose: as, a meaning look.
  • n. That which exists in the mind, view, or contemplation as an aim or purpose; that which is meant or intended to be done; intent; purpose; aim; object.
  • n. That which is intended to be or actually is expressed or indicated in any way; the sense or purport of anything, as a word or an allegory, a sign, symbol, act, event, etc.; signification; significance; import.
  • n. Understanding; knowledge; remembrance.
  • n. Synonyms Design.
  • n. Sense, explanation, interpretation, purport, acceptation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the message that is intended or expressed or signified
  • n. the idea that is intended
  • adj. rich in significance or implication

Etymologies

From Middle English mening, menyng, equivalent to mean +‎ -ing. Cognate with Scots mening ("intent, purpose, sense, meaning"), West Frisian miening ("opinion, mind"), Dutch mening ("view, opinion, judgement"), German Meinung ("opinion, view, mind, idea"), Danish and Swedish mening ("meaning, sense, sentence, opinion"), Icelandic meining ("meaning"). (Wiktionary)
From mean. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If by the _meaning_ of a general name are to be understood the things which it is the name of, no general name, except by accident, has a fixed meaning at all, or ever long retains the same meaning.

    A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive (Vol. 1 of 2)

  • _meaning_, and we are aware how these meaning values shift with the stress and turns of thought, so that a given word has a greater or less weight in different sentences or even in different clauses of the same sentence.

    A Study of Poetry

  • This reply is problematical in that it implies that the multitude of native speakers of English who reject the logical positivists 'account of meaning somehow cannot see that that sentence is true in virtue of the meaning of the word ˜meaning™ ” which is no technical term but a word of ordinary English.)

    Metaphysics

  • (_Surely there was mystic meaning in the name_ HELENA, _meaning which was fulfilled when she fled to Troy.

    The Agamemnon of Aeschylus Translated into English Rhyming Verse with Explanatory Notes

  • She thought that she could see the dawning realization that she and George “were either the victims of the Americans, or of the Russians, or of both, or, at the most, ‘lampistes’—a term meaning literally railroad employees who swing lanterns when a train pulls out and, by extension, the lowest of the low, who are made to pay for the mistakes or misdeeds of their superiors.”

    A Covert Affair

  • Giri ninjo, my Japanese friends taught me when I first came to Japan, is a term meaning loyalty and humility.

    Kickboxing Geishas

  • They note that the difference in meaning is often not great, but - ing emphasises the action or event in itself, while the infinitive places the emphasis more on the results of the action or event (p. 515).

    G is for Gerund « An A-Z of ELT

  • Native Americans' name for menhaden was "munnawhatteaug" -- a word meaning fertilizer, biologists say.

    In Va., the lowly menhaden loses out to striped bass

  • Obviously, the original, Latin meaning is the only one that makes sense.

    Matthew Yglesias » For Democrats, Even a 2010 Win Will Feel Like a Loss

  • My best guess is a word meaning government by hippopotamus.

    Letters: Potluck politics

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Comments

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  • What it means is in yer eye, guy! See philosophy in the flesh

    March 24, 2007

  • Dude. Is that poem supposed to mean anything?

    March 24, 2007

  • Two experts, to explicate Meaning,
    Penned a text called "The Meaning of Meaning",
    But the world was perplexed,
    So three experts penned next
    "The Meaning of Meaning of Meaning"

    --Douglas R. Hofstadter

    March 23, 2007