View synonyms for meaning


[ mee-ning ]


  1. what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import:

    the three meanings of a word.

    Synonyms: trend, drift, gist, tenor

  2. the end, purpose, or significance of something:

    What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of this intrusion?

  3. Linguistics.
    1. the nonlinguistic cultural correlate, reference, or denotation of a linguistic form; expression.
    2. linguistic content ( expression ).


  1. intentioned (usually used in combination):

    She's a well-meaning person.

  2. full of significance; expressive:

    a meaning look.


/ ˈmiːnɪŋ /


  1. the sense or significance of a word, sentence, symbol, etc; import; semantic or lexical content
  2. the purpose underlying or intended by speech, action, etc
  3. the inner, symbolic, or true interpretation, value, or message

    the meaning of a dream

  4. valid content; efficacy

    a law with little or no meaning

  5. philosophy
    1. the sense of an expression; its connotation
    2. the reference of an expression; its denotation. In recent philosophical writings meaning can be used in both the above senses See also sense
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


  1. expressive of some sense, intention, criticism, etc

    a meaning look

“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Other Words From

  • meaning·ly adverb
  • meaning·ness noun
  • sub·meaning noun
  • under·meaning noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of meaning1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English (noun); mean 1, -ing 1, -ing 2
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Synonym Study

Meaning, purport, sense, significance denote that which is expressed or indicated by something. Meaning is the general word denoting that which is intended to be or actually is expressed or indicated: the meaning of a word or glance. Sense may be used to denote a particular meaning (among others) of a word or phrase: The word is frequently used in this sense. Sense may also be used loosely to refer to intelligible meaning: There's no sense in what he says. Significance refers particularly to a meaning that is implied rather than expressed: the significance of her glance; or to a meaning the importance of which may not be easy to perceive immediately: The real significance of his words was not grasped at the time. Purport is mainly limited to the meaning of a formal document, speech, important conversation, etc., and refers to the gist of something fairly complicated: the purport of your letter to the editor.
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Example Sentences

Google added that it made improvements to the images and categories it uses for alternate meanings of words.

Anyone who has lived with a dog will know their capacity for learning the meaning of words, even ones you don’t want them to know.

These numerical representations allow us to computationally compare the similarity in meaning between sentences without having to compare their text.

What’s happening is the TikTok dance serves as a complete distraction from the actual meaning of the work.

From Vox

Sometimes she tells her classes of their responsibility to “gather, grow and give” — meaning learning and building things that are for the benefit of others.

His discourse is now more detailed: submission, which is the meaning of islam in Arabic, gives him a kind of enjoyment.

But Bush is as exciting to many conservatives as Hillary Clinton is to many progressives, meaning not so much.

But throughout it all, Ryan learns the true meaning of the holidays and spends it with family.

Otherwise, we will be but celebrating an empty holiday, missing its true meaning altogether.

Over the years, the meaning has evolved, essentially, to “Christmastime,” and describes the period between Dec. 24 and Jan. 6.

While they were doing this, he assembled the officers around him, and the meaning of our night march was explained to us.

Is the Bible revelation so clear and explicit that no difference of opinion as to its meaning is possible?

John was baptizing at a large pool called Ænon-by-Saleim,—probably allegorical, meaning “Fountain of Repose.”

She had left her chair, meaning to go indoors and prepare for supper before Tony actually arrived.

On the contrary, the full meaning of the act is manifestly opposed to such an idea.