a. The denotation, referent, or idea associated with a word or phrase: How many meanings does the word "dog" have?
b. Something that is conveyed or intended, especially by language; sense or significance: The writer's meaning was obscured by convoluted prose.
2. An interpreted goal, intent, or end: "The central meaning of his pontificate is to restore papal authority" (Conor Cruise O'Brien).
3. A sense of importance or purpose: When he became a teacher, he felt that his life had meaning.
1. Disposed or intended in a specified manner. Often used in combination: a well-meaning fellow; ill-meaning intentions.
2. Full of meaning; expressive: gave me a meaning look.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.