9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[mee-ning] /ˈmi nɪŋ/
what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import:
the three meanings of a word.
the end, purpose, or significance of something:
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of this intrusion?
  1. the nonlinguistic cultural correlate, reference, or denotation of a linguistic form; expression.
  2. linguistic content (opposed to expression).
intentioned (usually used in combination):
She's a well-meaning person.
full of significance; expressive:
a meaning look.
Origin of meaning
1250-1300; Middle English (noun); see mean1, -ing1, -ing2
Related forms
meaningly, adverb
meaningness, noun
submeaning, noun
undermeaning, noun
1. tenor, gist, drift, trend. Meaning, purport, sense, significance denote that which is expressed or indicated by something. Meaning is the general word denoting that which is intended to be or actually is expressed or indicated: the meaning of a word or glance. Sense may be used to denote a particular meaning (among others) of a word or phrase: The word is frequently used in this sense. Sense may also be used loosely to refer to intelligible meaning: There's no sense in what he says. Significance refers particularly to a meaning that is implied rather than expressed: the significance of her glance; or to a meaning the importance of which may not be easy to perceive immediately: The real significance of his words was not grasped at the time. Purport is mainly limited to the meaning of a formal document, speech, important conversation, etc., and refers to the gist of something fairly complicated: the purport of your letter to the editor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for meanings
  • These words invite you to decipher their meanings, all the while resisting interpretation.
  • Not by the conventional meanings of either of the main words of that clause.
  • The more complex an organism, the more likely it became that way by extracting multiple protein meanings from individual genes.
  • The latter keys could be pushed simultaneously, giving many possible combination and meanings for character keys.
  • These words have low and back vowels in their accented syllables, yet have meanings of smallness.
  • Many will argue that existence is meaningless, others will simply go on living with alternate meanings.
  • Tears can take on different meanings depending on who leaks them and when.
  • Those meanings come from stored data that our culture says is this object with these characteristics.
  • In both these languages the meanings of words are conveyed by the pitch at which they are uttered.
  • Some languages using pitch intonation do differentiate different meanings with otherwise highly similar pronunciations.
British Dictionary definitions for meanings


the sense or significance of a word, sentence, symbol, etc; import; semantic or lexical content
the purpose underlying or intended by speech, action, etc
the inner, symbolic, or true interpretation, value, or message: the meaning of a dream
valid content; efficacy: a law with little or no meaning
  1. the sense of an expression; its connotation
  2. the reference of an expression; its denotation. In recent philosophical writings meaning can be used in both the above senses See also sense (sense 12)
expressive of some sense, intention, criticism, etc: a meaning look
See also well-meaning
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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Word Origin and History for meanings



"sense, import, intent," c.1300, from mean (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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