1 what sth means
clear, exact, precise

The context makes the meaning clear.

What is the exact meaning of this phrase?

intended, true, underlying
double, hidden

There's often a double meaning in jokes and riddles.

I'm sure there's no hidden meaning in what he says.

figurative, metaphorical, symbolic

He explores the deeper cultural meaning of ‘home’.

comprehend, get, grasp, understand

I can't grasp the meaning of this quotation.

decipher, interpret, work out

Historians are trying to decipher the meaning of the documents.

explore, ponder

The movie ends with scenes that are supposed to leave us pondering its meaning.

assign, attach, attribute, discern

She assigns a meaning to his words they just didn't have.

clarify, explain

The copy editor uses her skill to clarify the meaning.


That night redefined the meaning of the word ‘love’ to him.

alter, change, distort

These translation errors alter the meaning of the sentence.

misinterpret, misunderstand

I think you misunderstood my meaning.


The context largely determines the meaning.

bear, carry, have

Some of the symbols carry meaning and some just represent sounds.

a word that has more than one meaning

acquire, take on

The word ‘gay’ took on its modern meaning in the 1960s.

communicate, convey, express
in a/the meaning

ambiguity in the meaning of a phrase

with a/the meaning

I am using the word with its original meaning.

meaning behind

the meaning behind an event

a nuance of meaning, a shade of meaning

It is difficult for a non-Italian to grasp all the nuances of meaning.

2 purpose/importance
deep, real, true

She's searching for the deeper meaning of life.


He found spiritual meaning through religion.


For him, art held little intrinsic meaning.


Her work no longer had any meaning for her.


As parents, our lives acquired new meaning.


After his death, she felt life had lost all meaning.


Falling in love gave meaning to his life.

contemplate, explore, ponder

You can't sit around contemplating the meaning of life all day.

without meaning

Young people can feel that life is without meaning.

Collocations dictionary. 2013.

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