Webster 1913 Edition



: cf. F.
That which is not sense, or has no sense; words, or language, which have no meaning, or which convey no intelligible ideas; absurdity.
Trifles; things of no importance.
Nonsense verses
lines made by taking any words which occur, but especially certain words which it is desired to recollect, and arranging them without reference to anything but the measure, so that the rhythm of the lines may aid in recalling the remembrance of the words.
Syn. – Folly; silliness; absurdity; trash; balderdash.

Webster 1828 Edition



No sense; words or language which have no meaning, or which convey no just ideas; absurdity.
Trifles; things of no importance.

Definition 2022



See also: non-sense


Alternative forms

  • nonsence (archaic)


nonsense (usually uncountable, plural nonsenses)

  1. Letters or words, in writing or speech, that have no meaning or seem to have no meaning.
    After my father had a stroke, every time he tried to talk, it sounded like nonsense.
  2. An untrue statement.
    He says that I stole his computer, but that's just nonsense.
  3. Something foolish.
    • 2008 October 9, “Nick Leeson has some lessons for this collapse”, in
      and central banks lend vast sums against marshmallow backed securities, or other nonsenses creative bankers dreamed up.
  4. (literature) A type of poetry that contains strange or surreal ideas, as, for example, that written by Edward Lear.
  5. (biology) A damaged DNA sequence whose products are not biologically active, that is, that does nothing.


See Wikisaurus:nonsense

Derived terms


See also


nonsense (third-person singular simple present nonsenses, present participle nonsensing, simple past and past participle nonsensed)

  1. To make nonsense of
    • a. 1909, Bernard Shaw, “The Red Robe”, in James Huneker, editor, Dramatic Opinions and Essays by G. Bernard Shaw, volume 2, page 73:
      At the Haymarket all this is nonsensed by an endeavor to steer between Mr. Stanley Weyman's rights as author of the story and the prescriptive right of the leading actor to fight popularly and heroically against heavy odds.
  2. To attempt to dismiss as nonsense.
    • 1997 June 3, “Rockies respond to whip”, in Denver Post:
      "They haven't nonsensed these workouts. They've taken them and used them very well. I didn't know how they'd respond, but they've responded."
    • 2000, Leon Garfield, Jason Cockcroft, Jack Holborn, page 131:
      Very commanding: very much 'end of this nonsensing'. Mister Fared spread his hands and shook his thin head imperceptibly, as if to say he understood
    • 2006 March 17, “Sierra Leone: Petroleum Unit Calls for Auditing”, in
      He further nonsensed press suggestions that the Petroleum Unit was set up to assist in the administration of sporting activities.
  3. (intransitive) To joke around, to waste time
    • 1963, C. F. Griffin, The Impermanence of Heroes, page 170:
      When he meant "go and get one" he said to go and get one, with no nonsensing around about "liking" to get one.



nonsense (comparative more nonsense, superlative most nonsense)

  1. (biochemistry) Resulting from the substitution of a nucleotide in a sense codon, causing it to become a stop codon (not coding for an amino-acid).
  2. nonsensical