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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


From Latin notio (a becoming acquainted, a taking cognizance, an examination, an investigation, a conception, idea, notion), from noscere (to know). Compare French notion. See know.


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notion (plural notions)

  1. Mental apprehension of whatever may be known, thought, or imagined; idea, concept.
    • Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
      What hath been generally agreed on, I content myself to assume under the notion of principles.
    • George Cheyne (1671-1743)
      Few agree in their notions about these words.
    • Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
      That notion of hunger, cold, sound, color, thought, wish, or fear which is in the mind, is called the "idea" of hunger, cold, etc.
    • Alexander Hamilton (ca.1756-1804)
      Notion, again, signifies either the act of apprehending, signalizing, that is, the remarking or taking note of, the various notes, marks, or characters of an object which its qualities afford, or the result of that act.
  2. A sentiment; an opinion.
    • Joseph Addison (1672-1719)
      The extravagant notion they entertain of themselves.
    • John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
      A perverse will easily collects together a system of notions to justify itself in its obliquity.
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 1, Death on the Centre Court:
      “Anthea hasn't a notion in her head but to vamp a lot of silly mugwumps. She's set her heart on that tennis bloke [] whom the papers are making such a fuss about.”
  3. (obsolete) Sense; mind. Shakespeare.
  4. (colloquial) An invention; an ingenious device; a knickknack.
    Yankee notions
  5. Any small article used in sewing and haberdashery, such as a button or zipper.
  6. (colloquial) Inclination; intention; disposition.
    I have a notion to do it.


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Borrowed from Latin nōtiō, nōtiōnem.


notion f (plural notions)

  1. notion

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