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  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈmiːnɪŋ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈminɪŋ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːnɪŋ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English mening, menyng, equivalent to mean +‎ -ing. Cognate with Scots mening (intent, purpose, sense, meaning), West Frisian miening (opinion, mind), Dutch mening (view, opinion, judgement), German Meinung (opinion, view, mind, idea), Danish and Swedish mening (meaning, sense, sentence, opinion), Icelandic meining (meaning).


meaning (countable and uncountable, plural meanings)

  1. (of words, expressions or symbols)
    1. The denotation, referent, or idea connected with a word, expression, or symbol.
      • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter VIII, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
        Elbows almost touching they leaned at ease, idly reading the almost obliterated lines engraved there. ¶ "I never understood it," she observed, lightly scornful. "What occult meaning has a sun-dial for the spooney? I'm sure I don't want to read riddles in a strange gentleman's optics."
    2. The connotation associated with a word, expression, or symbol.
  2. The purpose, value, or significance (of something) beyond the fact of that thing's existence.
    the meaning of life
    The number of persons attending the vigil had a lot of meaning to the families.
  3. (of a person's actions) Intention.
    • c. 1610?, Walter Raleigh, A Discourse of War:
      It was their meaning to take what they needed by strong hand.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, The Haunted House:
      [] there was nothing in the house, what there was, was broken, the last people must have lived like pigs, what could the meaning of the landlord be?
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Derived terms[edit]
Terms derived from meaning (noun)
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From mean +‎ -ing.



  1. present participle and gerund of mean
    • 2013 July-August, Lee S. Langston, “The Adaptable Gas Turbine”, in American Scientist:
      Turbines have been around for a long time—windmills and water wheels are early examples. The name comes from the Latin turbo, meaning vortex, and thus the defining property of a turbine is that a fluid or gas turns the blades of a rotor, which is attached to a shaft that can perform useful work.


meaning (comparative more meaning, superlative most meaning)

  1. Having a (specified) intention.
  2. Expressing some intention or significance; meaningful.
    • 1839, Edgar Allan Poe, William Wilson:
      I might, to-day, have been a better, and thus a happier man, had I less frequently rejected the counsels embodied in those meaning whispers which I then but too cordially hated and too bitterly despised.
    • 1907, Barbara Baynton, edited by Sally Krimmer and Alan Lawson, Human Toll (Portable Australian Authors: Barbara Baynton), St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, published 1980, page 243:
      There was a meaning pause, broken by old Stein again clapping his hands.
    • 1978, Jane Gardam, God on the Rocks, Abacus, published 2014, page 160:
      [T]he new friends […] knew nothing and did not particularly care to hear about the beautiful mother with her long, meaning looks and liquid dresses and distant smile.


  • meaning”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.