The magnetic resonance imaging appearance of 40 surgically confirmed intracranial meningiomas was reviewed to correlate signal intensity on T2-weighted images with histological subtypes of meningioma. A moderate variation of signal intensity was found within a given histological subtype. The mean signal intensity scores on T2-weighted images of the fibrous type of meningioma were significantly lower than those of the other types, and were correlated with the collagen content. The signal intensity of meningiomas on T2-weighted images crudely predicts the histological type. Tumors significantly hypointense compared to the cortex are composed primarily of fibrous elements.