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notion

[ noh-shuhn ]
/ ˈnoʊ ʃən /
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See synonyms for: notion / notions on Thesaurus.com

noun
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.
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Origin of notion

First recorded in 1560–70; from Latin nōtiōn- (stem of nōtiō ) “examination, idea,” equivalent to (g)nōt(us), past participle of (g)nōscere “to come to know” + -iōn- suffix forming nouns; see notify, -ion

historical usage of notion

The English noun notion “general understanding, opinion” comes from Latin nōtiō (stem nōtiōn- ), a derivative of the verb nōscere “to know” and -tiō, an abstract noun suffix here denoting a state (rather than an action).
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.

OTHER WORDS FROM notion

no·tion·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

WHEN TO USE

What are other ways to say notion?

A notion is a vague or imperfect idea or a general understanding of something. How is it different from thought, conception, and idea? Learn more on Thesaurus.com.

How to use notion in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for notion

notion
/ (ˈnəʊʃən) /

noun
a vague idea; impression
an idea, concept, or opinion
an inclination or whim
See also notions

Word Origin for notion

C16: from Latin nōtiō a becoming acquainted (with), examination (of), from noscere to know
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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