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a. The denotation, referent, or idea associated with a word or phrase: How many meanings does the word "dog" have?
b. Something that is conveyed or intended, especially by language; sense or significance: The writer's meaning was obscured by convoluted prose.
2. An interpreted goal, intent, or end: "The central meaning of his pontificate is to restore papal authority" (Conor Cruise O'Brien).
3. A sense of importance or purpose: When he became a teacher, he felt that his life had meaning.
1. Disposed or intended in a specified manner. Often used in combination: a well-meaning fellow; ill-meaning intentions.
2. Full of meaning; expressive: gave me a meaning look.


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) philosophy
a. the sense of an expression; its connotation
b. the reference of an expression; its denotation. In recent philosophical writings meaning can be used in both the above senses. See also sense12
expressive of some sense, intention, criticism, etc: a meaning look.


(ˈmi nɪŋ)

1. what is intended to be or actually is expressed or indicated; import: the three meanings of a word.
2. the end, purpose, or significance of something.
3. intentioned (usu. used in combination): a well-meaning person.
4. expressive: a meaning look.
mean′ing•ly, adv.
syn: meaning, sense, significance, purport denote that which is expressed or indicated by language or action. meaning is general, describing that which is intended to be, or actually is, expressed: the meaning of a statement. sense often refers to a particular meaning of a word or phrase: The word “run” has many senses. sense may also be used of meaning that is intelligible or reasonable: There's no sense in what you say. significance refers to a meaning that is only implied: the significance of a glance. It may also refer to a meaning the importance of which is not immediately perceived: We did not grasp its significance until years later. purport usu. refers to the essential meaning of something complicated: the purport of a theory.


1. 'meaning'

The meaning of a word, expression, or gesture is the thing or idea that it refers to or represents.

The word 'guide' is used with various meanings.
This gesture has the same meaning throughout Italy.

The meaning of what someone says is what they intend to express.

The meaning of his remark was clear.
2. 'intention'

Don't use 'meaning' to refer to what someone intends to do. Don't say, for example, 'His meaning was to leave without paying'. Say 'His intention was to leave without paying'.

Their intention is to finish the work by Friday.
3. 'opinion'

Don't use 'meaning' to refer to what someone thinks about something. Don't say, for example, 'I think he should go. What's your meaning?' You say 'I think he should go. What's your opinion?'

My opinion is that this is completely the wrong thing to do.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.meaning - the message that is intended or expressed or signifiedmeaning - the message that is intended or expressed or signified; "what is the meaning of this sentence"; "the significance of a red traffic light"; "the signification of Chinese characters"; "the import of his announcement was ambiguous"
subject matter, content, message, substance - what a communication that is about something is about
lexical meaning - the meaning of a content word that depends on the nonlinguistic concepts it is used to express
grammatical meaning - the meaning of a word that depends on its role in a sentence; varies with inflectional form
symbolisation, symbolization - the use of symbols to convey meaning
signified, sense - the meaning of a word or expression; the way in which a word or expression or situation can be interpreted; "the dictionary gave several senses for the word"; "in the best sense charity is really a duty"; "the signifier is linked to the signified"
connotation, intension - what you must know in order to determine the reference of an expression
referent - something referred to; the object of a reference
gist, burden, essence, effect, core - the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
purport, intent, spirit - the intended meaning of a communication
moral, lesson - the significance of a story or event; "the moral of the story is to love thy neighbor"
nuance, subtlety, nicety, refinement, shade - a subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude; "without understanding the finer nuances you can't enjoy the humor"; "don't argue about shades of meaning"
overtone - (usually plural) an ulterior implicit meaning or quality; "overtones of despair"
point - a brief version of the essential meaning of something; "get to the point"; "he missed the point of the joke"; "life has lost its point"
2.meaning - the idea that is intended; "What is the meaning of this proverb?"
idea, thought - the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about; "it was not a good idea"; "the thought never entered my mind"
semantics - the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text; "a petty argument about semantics"
implication, significance, import - a meaning that is not expressly stated but can be inferred; "the significance of his remark became clear only later"; "the expectation was spread both by word and by implication"
tenor, strain - the general meaning or substance of an utterance; "although I disagreed with him I could follow the tenor of his argument"
undercurrent, undertone - a subdued emotional quality underlying an utterance; implicit meaning
denotation, reference, extension - the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression; the class of objects that an expression refers to; "the extension of `satellite of Mars' is the set containing only Demos and Phobos"
reference - the relation between a word or phrase and the object or idea it refers to; "he argued that reference is a consequence of conditioned reflexes"
connotation - an idea that is implied or suggested
Adj.1.meaning - rich in significance or implication; "a meaning look"
meaningful - having a meaning or purpose; "a meaningful explanation"; "a meaningful discussion"; "a meaningful pause"


1. significance, message, explanation, substance, value, import, implication, drift, interpretation, essence, purport, connotation, upshot, gist, signification I became more aware of the symbols and their meanings.
2. definition, sense, interpretation, explication, elucidation, denotation arguing over the exact meaning of this word or that
3. purpose, point, end, idea, goal, design, aim, object, intention Unsure of the meaning of this remark, he remained silent.
4. force, use, point, effect, value, worth, consequence, thrust, validity, usefulness, efficacy a challenge that gives meaning to life
1. expressive, meaningful, pointed, revealing, significant, speaking, pregnant, suggestive, telltale He nodded and gave me a meaning look.


1. That which is signified by a word or expression:
2. The thread or current of thought uniting or occurring in all the elements of a text or discourse:
3. What one intends to do or achieve:
Idioms: end in view, why and wherefore.
4. The gist of a specific action or situation:
Effectively conveying meaning, feeling, or mood:
ذو مَغْزىمَعْنىمَعْنَى
ý nghĩa


A. N
1. (= sense) [of word] → significado m, acepción f; [of phrase] → significado m; [of life, work] → sentido m
this word has lots of meaningsesta palabra tiene muchos significados or muchas acepciones
life has no meaning for her nowahora para ella la vida no tiene sentido
double meaningdoble sentido
do you get my meaning?¿me entiendes?, ¿me comprendes?
he doesn't know the meaning of the word (fig) → ni sabe lo que eso significa
what's the meaning of "hick"?¿qué significa "hick"?, ¿qué quiere decir "hick"?
what's the meaning of this? (as reprimand) → ¿se puede saber qué significa esto?
2. (= intention) → intención f, propósito m
a look full of meaninguna mirada llena de intención
to mistake sb's meaningmalinterpretar la intención de algn
B. ADJ [look etc] → significativo, lleno de intención


[ˈmiːnɪŋ] n
[word] → sens m
two words with similar meanings → deux mots aux sens similaires
she doesn't know the meaning of the word! (= doesn't understand the concept) → elle ne sait pas ce que cela veut dire!, elle ne connaît pas le sens du mot!
(= significance) → sens m
to give meaning to sth → donner un sens à qch
a challenge that gives a meaning to life → un défi qui donne un sens à la vie


adj look etcvielsagend, bedeutsam
nBedeutung f; (= sense: of words, poem etc also) → Sinn m; a look full of meaningein bedeutungsvoller or bedeutsamer Blick; what’s the meaning of (the word) “hick”?was soll das Wort „hick“ heißen or bedeuten?; to mistake somebody’s meaningjdn missverstehen; do you get my meaning?haben Sie mich (richtig) verstanden?; you don’t know the meaning of love/hungerdu weißt ja gar nicht, was Liebe/Hunger ist or bedeutet; what’s the meaning of this?was hat denn das zu bedeuten?, was soll denn das (heißen)?


[ˈmiːnɪŋ] nsignificato, senso
a look full of meaning → uno sguardo eloquente
do you get my meaning? → capisci cosa voglio dire?
what's the meaning of this? (as reprimand) → e questo cosa significa?


(miːn) past tense, past participle meant (ment) verb
1. to (intend to) express, show or indicate. `Vacation' means `holiday'; What do you mean by (saying/doing) that?
2. to intend. I meant to go to the exhibition but forgot; For whom was that letter meant?; He means (= is determined) to be a rich man some day.
ˈmeaning noun
the sense in which a statement, action, word etc is (intended to be) understood. What is the meaning of this phrase?; What is the meaning of his behaviour?
(of a look, glance etc) showing a certain feeling or giving a certain message. The teacher gave the boy a meaning look when he arrived late.
ˈmeaningful adjective
(often used loosely) important in some way. a meaningful statement/relationship.
ˈmeaningless adjective
without meaning or reason; of no importance. meaningless chatter.
be meant to
to be required or supposed; to have to. The child is meant to be asleep!
mean well
to have good intentions. He meant well by what he said.


مَعْنَى význam betydning Bedeutung σημασία significado merkitys signification značenje significato 意味 betekenis betydning znaczenie significado значение betydelse ความหมาย anlam ý nghĩa 含意
References in classic literature ?
The problem with which we shall be concerned in this lecture is the problem of determining what is the relation called "meaning." The word "Napoleon," we say, "means" a certain person.
'Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called "Jabberwocky"?'
I should be sorry to doubt the word of such a wise and inspired man, but his meaning, though probably clear to you, is the reverse of clear to me.
Yet even the German books are not entirely free from attacks of the Parenthesis distemper--though they are usually so mild as to cover only a few lines, and therefore when you at last get down to the verb it carries some meaning to your mind because you are able to remember a good deal of what has gone before.
This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other "brave words" of our bourgeoisie about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.
"What!" cried he in horror, "explain your meaning." "Feel, touch, come into contact," I replied.
And I was astonished that in spite of the utmost effort of thought along that road I could not discover the meaning of life, the meaning of my impulses and yearnings.
Sometimes Pierre, struck by the meaning of his words, would ask him to repeat them, but Platon could never recall what he had said a moment before, just as he never could repeat to Pierre the words of his favorite song: native and birch tree and my heart is sick occurred in it, but when spoken and not sung, no meaning could be got out of it.
Those," he said, "came nearer to the Scripture meaning, who understood by it candour, or the forming of a benevolent opinion of our brethren, and passing a favourable judgment on their actions; a virtue much higher, and more extensive in its nature, than a pitiful distribution of alms, which, though we would never so much prejudice, or even ruin our families, could never reach many; whereas charity, in the other and truer sense, might be extended to all mankind."
Lightwood took his cigar from his lips in surprise, and looked at his friend, as if with a latent suspicion that there must be a jest or hidden meaning in his words.
She stared, taking my meaning in; but it produced in her an odd laugh.
There is forever a poignant meaning in life beyond what mere living involves, and why should not there be this reference in art to the ends beyond art?