a general understanding; vague or imperfect conception or idea of something: a notion of how something should be done.
an opinion, view, or belief: That's his notion, not mine.
conception or idea: his notion of democracy.
a fanciful or foolish idea; whim: She had a notion to swim in the winter.
an ingenious article, device, or contrivance; knickknack.
notions, small articles, as buttons, thread, ribbon, and other personal items, especially such items displayed together for sale, as in a department store.
In the comedies of Plautus, nōtiō meant “acquaintance (with a person).” In legal and juridical language, nōtiō meant “examination, inquiry (by a magistrate).” The usual meaning of notion we owe to Cicero, the Roman orator, statesman, and man of letters, who created a technical philosophical vocabulary for Latin almost single-handedly in order to translate concepts in Greek philosophy. In his Topica (31), Cicero explains his usage of nōtiō : “I mean by notion what the Greeks call énnoia [‘thinking, reflection, notion, concept’] or prólēpsis [‘preconception, mental picture’].”
The plural notions “small articles, such as buttons, thread, ribbon, etc., displayed together for sale” was an Americanism that first appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper in 1796.
- no·tion·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use notion in a sentence
The burrowing freeloaders “challenge our notion of what plants even do,” he says.‘Vampire’ parasite challenges the definition of a plant | Susan Milius | September 16, 2020 | Science News For Students
There’s another notion of recursion, which is you can reuse stuff.Talking Is Throwing Fictional Worlds at One Another - Issue 89: The Dark Side | Kevin Berger | September 9, 2020 | Nautilus
The answer largely depends on how much we build into the notion of understanding.Welcome to the Next Level of Bullshit - Issue 89: The Dark Side | Raphaël Millière | September 9, 2020 | Nautilus
The competitive advantage they once had when raising — the notion that they’re focused on an area no one else is — is potentially threatened.
The notion that the state’s attorney’s office can’t simultaneously pursue public safety and a broader sense of justice is false, she said, and it would be a mistake to stop the reform efforts now.As Trump Calls for Law and Order, Can Chicago’s Top Prosecutor Beat the Charge That She’s Soft on Crime? | by Mick Dumke | September 4, 2020 | ProPublica
But Brooke was out of step with the New Left and its notion of radical chic.Ed Brooke: The Senate's Civil Rights Pioneer and Prophet of a Post-Racial America | John Avlon | January 4, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
As Puar further pointed out, this notion of a global gay identity is easily manipulated.How Canadian Oilmen Pinkwash the Keystone Pipeline | Jay Michaelson | December 28, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Could you talk a minute about the notion of being an unreliable narrator?Daphne Merkin on Lena Dunham, Book Criticism, and Self-Examination | Mindy Farabee | December 26, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
They embraced the notion of a growing America, whose economy could be expanded for the benefit of the majority.
The biggest misfire here, though, was the notion that anyone would believe that this dude looked at all like Prince Harry.The Biggest Bombs of 2014: ‘Sex Tape,’ Mariah Carey’s Vocals, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and More | Kevin Fallon | December 19, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But the Mexican caballeros had no notion of coming up to the scratch a third time.
Although everybody laughed at such a notion, the Worm-eating Warbler declared that he had a right to his own belief.The Tale of Grandfather Mole | Arthur Scott Bailey
But I couldn't get rid of the notion that he would hand me out the same dose he had given MacRae if only he had the power.Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
He had not the least idea what wadding was, and his notion of a bullet was a dockyard cannon-ball bigger than his own head.Kipling Stories and Poems Every Child Should Know, Book II | Rudyard Kipling
Yet, try as I would to strangle the idea, all through the evening the same horrible, unaccountable notion clung to me.Uncanny Tales | Various
British Dictionary definitions for notion
a vague idea; impression
an idea, concept, or opinion
an inclination or whim
- See also notions
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