mean‧ing S2 W1

of a word/sign etc

[uncountable and countable] the thing or idea that a word, expression, or sign represents
meaning of
I don't know the precise meaning of the word 'gleaned'.
The expression has two very different meanings in English.

ideas in speech/book etc

[uncountable and countable] the thoughts or ideas that someone wants you to understand from what they say, do, write etc
meaning of
The meaning of her words was clear. We'd lost our jobs.
meaning behind
She hardly dared to understand the meaning behind his statement.
get/understand somebody's meaning (=understand what they are trying to tell you)
He's become a bit more than a friend, if you get my meaning.

what's the meaning of this?

spoken used to demand an explanation:
What's the meaning of this? I asked you to be here an hour ago!

purpose/special quality

[uncountable] the quality that makes life, work etc seem to have a purpose or value:
Life 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.

true nature

[uncountable] the true nature and importance of something
meaning of
We seem to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.

(not) know the meaning of something

to have, or not have, experience and understanding of a particular situation or feeling:
Living in a warzone, the children knew the meaning of fear.
Guilty! She doesn't know the meaning of the word!

Dictionary results for "meaning"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.