The Meaning of Notion: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of notion? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word notion, including its definition, usage, word origin, and more!

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What does the word notion mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word notion is a noun with a few different meanings. First, the word notion can mean a vague idea, impression, belief, feeling, inclination, or opinion in which some confidence is placed. This could be known as an idea, thought, reflection,  presence, effect, first blush, hunch, suspicion, or intuition. This noun can also refer to a general inclusive concept, construct, an individual’s conception or mumpsimus. A notion can also be some foolish idea or fanciful, capricious idea that is full of whim or whimsy. Many things can be considered a traditional notion, including preconceived notions, the notion of democracy the notion of recursion, the notion of public safety or reform efforts, notions of equality and liberty, the notion of a political system, the old-fashioned notion of what qualities are associated with each gender, and more. This word can be used in many ways in natural sounding English in both American English and British English.

According to The Free Dictionary, the word notion (ˈnəʊʃən) can also refer to a knickknack or small articles of clothing or sewing items, such as needles, buttons, hooks, snaps, and thread. Such items of sewing notions can also refer to a ribbon, which is a notion consisting of a narrow strip of fine material used for trimming. These small personal articles are often for sale in a department store for household use. The word notion can also refer to the idea formed by consideration of instances of a species or genus. Notion is two syllables – no-tion, and the pronunciation of notion is ˈnoʊʃən. 

Many different languages also use words that mean notion. You may notice that some of these words look similar to one another. This is probably due to the fact that they share a common origin. Oftentimes, words that have a shared root language such as Latin or Greek will look, sound, and mean similar things. These are called cognates. This list of translations for the word notion is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Sorani: مه‌فهوم‎
  •  Romanian: noțiune‎ (fem.)
  •  Khmer: គំនិត‎ (kumnɨt), សញ្ញាណ‎ (saññaan)
  •  Vietnamese: khái niệm‎
  •  Latvian: priekšstats‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: 概念‎ (がいねん, gainen)
  •  Slovak: pojem‎
  •  Turkish: fikir‎, kavram‎, mefhum‎, nosyon‎
  •  Dutch: notie‎ (fem.), besef‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: smaoin‎ (fem.)
  •  Hungarian: gondolat‎, elképzelés‎, elgondolás‎, fogalom‎
  •  Irish: éirim‎ (fem.), smaoineamh‎ (masc.), nóisean‎ (masc.)
  •  Macedonian: поим‎, претстава‎
  •  Czech: pojem‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: käsite‎, käsitys‎
  •  Russian: поня́тие‎ (neut.)
  •  Maori: ariā‎
  •  Swedish: begrepp‎
  •  Catalan: noció‎ (fem.)
  •  French: notion‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: pojęcie‎ (neut.)
  •  Ukrainian: поняття‎
  •  Bashkir: төшөнсә‎
  •  Spanish: noción‎ (fem.)
  •  Serbo-Croatian: poimanje‎ (neut.)
  •  Mandarin: 概念‎ (gàiniàn)
  •  Portuguese: noção‎ (fem.), idéia‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: nozione‎
  •  Greek: αντίληψη‎ (fem.), θεώρηση‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Ahnung‎ (fem.), Ansicht‎ (fem.), Auffassung‎ (fem.), Begriff‎ (masc.), Denkbild‎ (neut.), Gedanke‎ (masc.), Idee‎ (fem.)
  •  Korean: 개념‎ (gaenyeom)
  •  Azeri: fikir‎, anlayış‎, məfhum‎

What is the origin of the word notion?

According to Etymonline, the word notion has been used since the late 14c as the Middle English nocioun. This word comes from the Latin notionem, which is a noun of action  from the past participle stem of noscere. This comes from the Latin nōtiō/Latin notio, nominative notio and stem nōtiōn/nōtus. These come from gnō in Indo-European roots.

What are synonyms and antonyms of notion?

There are many different words that someone can use in place of the word notion. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are looking to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word notion is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  brain wave
  •  belief
  •  theory
  •  idea
  •  ideas
  •  conceit
  •  standpoint
  •  mental picture
  •  stance
  •  boutade
  •  suggestion
  •  concepts
  •  desire
  •  guess
  •  dogma
  •  mind
  •  vagary
  •  caprice
  •  viewpoint
  •  picture
  •  philosophy
  •  autosuggestion
  •  assumption
  •  understanding
  •  thought
  •  hypothesis
  •  impulse
  •  point
  •  bee
  •  concept
  •  thoughts
  •  haberdashery
  •  intuition
  •  attitude
  •  approach
  •  inkling
  •  whim
  •  fancy
  •  perception
  •  imagination
  •  funny feeling
  •  fool notion
  •  postulation
  •  self-suggestion
  •  judgement
  •  wish
  •  point of view
  •  awareness
  •  proposition
  •  position
  •  thing
  •  inclination
  •  sneaking suspicion
  •  consideration
  •  persuasion
  •  clue
  •  thinking
  •  surmise
  •  abstraction
  •  thesis
  •  sentiment
  •  inference
  •  urge
  •  conjecture
  •  design
  •  vision
  •  intimation
  •  conclusion
  •  view
  •  hint
  •  principle
  •  apprehension
  •  plan
  •  sense
  •  suspicion
  •  image
  •  opinion
  •  presumption
  •  inspiration
  •  intellection
  •  feeling
  •  judgment
  •  way of thinking
  •  hunch
  •  impression
  •  speculation
  •  crotchet
  •  estimation
  •  supposition
  •  whimsy
  •  premise
  •  gut feeling
  •  conviction
  •  tenet
  •  conception
  •  knowledge
  •  presentiment
  •  brainstorm

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning of the word notion. These opposite words are known as antonyms, and are also useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word notion is also provided by Power Thesaurus. 

  •  case
  •  actualness
  •  custom
  •  blind
  •  abortion
  •  foresight
  •  disobey
  •  disorientation
  •  computation
  •  doom
  •  need
  •  accuracy
  •  mere fact
  •  misunderstanding
  •  duress
  •  fact
  •  corporality
  •  ignorance
  •  disinclination
  •  compute
  •  basis
  •  corporeality
  •  exactness
  •  core
  •  certitude
  •  constancy
  •  coma
  •  truth
  •  calcualtion
  •  disinterestedness
  •  concrete
  •  authenticity
  •  aimlessness
  •  base
  •  estimation
  •  blindness
  •  cause
  •  final answer
  •  fidelity
  •  denigrate
  •  assuredness
  •  finality
  •  detest
  •  accident
  •  unconsciousness
  •  blankness
  •  proof
  •  certainty
  •  expectedness
  •  actuality

Overall, the word notion means a content of cognition such as an idea or mental image. This can refer to small lightweight items, innovative ideas, an individual’s conception of the world, an inclusive general concept, the process of imagining, personal items, a first impression, taking cognizance, the formulation of an idea, a vague belief in pure abstraction or one in a concrete sense, a general idea or first glimpse. This word is Latin in origin.


  1. Notion definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  2. notion: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense  
  3. Notion synonyms – 1 626 Words and Phrases for Notion | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Notion antonyms – 125 Opposites of Notion | Power Thesaurus 
  5. notion | Origin and meaning of notion | Online Etymology Dictionary