Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The denotation, referent, or idea associated with a word or phrase.
  • noun Something that is conveyed or intended, especially by language; sense or significance.
  • noun An interpreted goal, intent, or end.
  • noun A sense of importance or purpose.
  • adjective Disposed or intended in a specified manner. Often used in combination.
  • adjective Full of meaning; expressive.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Significant; expressing thought or purpose: as, a meaning look.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Understanding; knowledge; remembrance.
  • noun Synonyms Design.
  • noun Sense, explanation, interpretation, purport, acceptation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun the message that is intended or expressed or signified
  • noun the idea that is intended
  • adjective rich in significance or implication

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From mean.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

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

  • 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

  • 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

Comments

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  • 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

  • Dude. Is that poem supposed to mean anything?

    March 24, 2007

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

    March 24, 2007