[noh-shuh n]


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.

Origin of notion

1560–70; < Latin nōtiōn- (stem of nōtiō) examination, idea, equivalent to nōt(us) past participle of nōscere (see notify) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsno·tion·less, adjective

Synonyms for notion

1, 3. See idea. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for notions

Contemporary Examples of notions

Historical Examples of notions

  • The world's notions of purity are simply childish—because it is not itself pure.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • His notions of time and distance are often not in the very least to be relied on.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Our heroine balanced for a moment between these two notions.

  • This did not suit our notions of a land cruise, and we began to grumble.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Sir William, in truth, had too much sense to often join or sympathize with these notions.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for notions


pl n

mainly US and Canadian pins, cotton, ribbon, and similar wares used for sewing; haberdashery



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

Word Origin and History for notions

"miscellaneous articles," 1805, American English, from notion with the idea of "clever invention."



late 14c., from Latin notionem (nominative notio) "concept, conception, idea, notice," noun of action from past participle stem of noscere "come to know" (see know). Coined by Cicero as a loan-translation of Greek ennoia "act of thinking, notion, conception," or prolepsis "previous notion, previous conception."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper