From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmeaningmean‧ing /ˈmiːnɪŋ/ ●●●S2W1 noun1of a word/sign etc [countable, uncountable]MEANING the thing or idea that a word, expression, or signrepresentsmeaning ofI don’t know the precise meaning of the word ‘gleaned’.2ideas in speech/book etc [countable, uncountable]MEANING the thoughts or ideas that someone wants you to understand from what they say, do, write etcmeaning ofThe meaning of her words was clear. We’d lost our jobs.meaning behindShe hardly dared to understand the meaning behind his statement.3 →what’s the meaning of this?4purpose/special quality [uncountable]PURPOSE the quality that makes life, work etc seem to have a purpose or valueLife seemed to have lost its meaning since Janet’s death.Her studies no longer seemed to have any meaning.For many people it is religion that gives meaning to their existence.5true nature [uncountable]MEANING the truenature and importance of somethingmeaning ofWe seem to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.6 →(not) know the meaning of somethingCOLLOCATIONS – Meanings 1 & 2verbshave a meaningThe same word may have several different meanings.take on a meaning (=begin to have a new meaning)The word ‘chaos’ has taken on a special scientific meaning.understand the meaningThe pictures help the children understand the meanings of the words.know the meaningDo you know the meaning of the word ‘paraphrase’?get somebody’s meaning (also take somebody’s meaning British English) (=understand what someone is saying in an indirect way)He’s not like other people, if you get my meaning.grasp the meaning (=begin to understand the meaning)She suddenly grasped the meaning of his frantic gestures.carry meaning (also bear a meaning formal) (=have a meaning)In conversation, even a pause may carry meaning.convey meaning (=express a meaning)the use of hand signals to convey meaningadjectivesprecise/specific/exactThe term ‘stress’ has a precise meaning to an engineer.a hidden meaningShe felt there was a hidden meaning behind his words.a double meaning (=two meanings at the same time)Everything he said had a double meaning.the literal meaningThe literal meaning of ‘telephone’ is ‘far-away sound’.the ordinary meaningThey are a 'nuisance' in the ordinary meaning, not the legal meaning, of that word.the figurative/metaphorical meaning (=different from its usual or basic meaning)The expression has a metaphorical meaning.somebody’s/something’s true meaningChildren understand the true meaning of these words.a symbolic meaning (=representing an idea)Colours often have symbolic meanings; for example, black signifies grief in Western cultures.
THESAURUSSense 2meaning the thoughts or ideas that someone wants you to understand from what they say, do, write etcWhat do you think is the meaning of the poem?the gist the main idea and meaning of something such as an article or a speechRead the story quickly first, just to get the gist of it.I think I understand the gist of what you’re saying. the drift/your drift the main set of ideas involved in something such as an explanation, argument, or account of something – often used when the ideas are not stated directlyThe drift of his letter is that he wants to come back.I don’t quite follow your drift. the essence the most important meaning of something such as an argument or piece of writingThe essence of what he is saying is that human character is formed by society.the thrust the most important message of an argument, explanation etc, especially when it consists of a set of connected ideas leading to a finalanswer or ideaThe overall thrust of her argument is that we need to do more to protect our environment.the substance formal the most important ideas contained in an argument or piece of writingThe substance of Marx’s views is the same in both of these books.His article lacks substance (=there are no interesting or important ideas in it).the implication the meaning of what someone says, writes etc that is not stated directly, but that people are expected to understandThe implication was that they did not consider Harrison to be trustworthy.