idea

noun
\ ī-ˈdē-ə How to pronounce idea (audio) , -ˈdēə also ˈī-(ˌ)dē-ə or ˈī-dē \

Definition of idea

1 : a formulated thought or opinion
2 : whatever is known or supposed about something a child's idea of time
3 : the central meaning or chief end of a particular action or situation
4a : a plan for action : design
b : a standard of perfection : ideal
c : a transcendent entity that is a real pattern of which existing things are imperfect representations
5a : an entity (such as a thought, concept, sensation, or image) actually or potentially present to consciousness
b : an indefinite or unformed conception
c obsolete : an image recalled by memory
6 Christian Science : an image in Mind
7 archaic : a visible representation of a conception : a replica of a pattern

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Other Words from idea

idealess \ ī-​ˈdē-​ə-​ləs How to pronounce idealess (audio) , -​ˈdēə-​ also  ˈī-​(ˌ)dē-​ə-​ or  ˈī-​dē-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for idea

idea, concept, conception, thought, notion, impression mean what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan). idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something assumed or vaguely sensed. innovative ideas my idea of paradise concept may apply to the idea formed by consideration of instances of a species or genus or, more broadly, to any idea of what a thing ought to be. a society with no concept of private property conception is often interchangeable with concept; it may stress the process of imagining or formulating rather than the result. our changing conception of what constitutes art thought is likely to suggest the result of reflecting, reasoning, or meditating rather than of imagining. commit your thoughts to paper notion suggests an idea not much resolved by analysis or reflection and may suggest the capricious or accidental. you have the oddest notions impression applies to an idea or notion resulting immediately from some stimulation of the senses. the first impression is of soaring height

Examples of idea in a Sentence

My idea is to study law. Starting her own business seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out badly. Whose idea was it to leave so early? My idea was that if we left early we could beat the crowd. Buying the car was a bad idea. I have some ideas for redecorating the room. He has an idea for a movie. I'm not sure what to do next. Do you have any ideas? She's always full of new ideas. It's a good idea to talk to people who have actually been there.
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Recent Examples on the Web Europeans are watching the court challenges and the efforts to throw the election into Congress, but most have no idea what happened in 1800 or 1876, when the presidency was decided there. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Business and World Leaders Move On as Trump Fights to Reverse Election," 20 Nov. 2020 People had no idea how to contend with broadcasting their own face—weird shadows, awkward backdrops, and under-the-chin shots from low-slung laptops abounded. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "Americans Got Tired of Looking Bad on Zoom," 19 Nov. 2020 The Warriors have no idea how severe Thompson hurt his right leg nearly 17 months after injuring his left ACL in a decisive Game 6 loss to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, which kept him sidelined all of last season. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Warriors' ability to absorb Klay Thompson's absence has its limits," 19 Nov. 2020 But those who had to live through it had no idea what would come next. Laurie Penny, Wired, "The Timelines of Our Lives," 18 Nov. 2020 These people feel healthy and have no idea that they are infected and can pass the virus to others. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines likely in weeks, though U.S. still headed for a harsh winter," 17 Nov. 2020 Michigan had no idea Beniers would fall into their lap. Joshua Taubman, Detroit Free Press, "He was supposed to play for Harvard. Now he might put Michigan hockey over the top," 14 Nov. 2020 Let’s back up for a minute: Until the 1900s, no one had any idea there was such a thing. Julie Ricevuto, Allure, "The Science of Beauty: The Complete Guide to Vitamins for Skin Health," 12 Nov. 2020 Pelipas first had the idea a few years ago but struggled to justify putting it out into the world. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Stylist Julie Pelipas Launches Bettter, the Answer to Chic Suiting," 12 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'idea.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of idea

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4c

History and Etymology for idea

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek, from idein to see — more at wit

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Time Traveler for idea

Time Traveler

The first known use of idea was in the 14th century

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Statistics for idea

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idea. Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for idea

idea

noun
How to pronounce idea (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of idea

: a thought, plan, or suggestion about what to do
: an opinion or belief
: something that you imagine or picture in your mind

idea

noun
\ ī-ˈdē-ə How to pronounce idea (audio) \

Kids Definition of idea

1 : a thought or plan about what to do Surprising her was a bad idea.
2 : something imagined or pictured in the mind I had an idea of what the town was like.
3 : an understanding of something I have no idea what you mean.
4 : a central meaning or purpose The idea of the game is to keep from getting caught.
5 : an opinion or belief What gave you that idea?

idea

noun
\ ī-ˈdē-ə How to pronounce idea (audio) , ˈīd-(ˌ)ē-ə How to pronounce idea (audio) \

Medical Definition of idea

1 : an entity (as a thought, concept, sensation, or image) actually or potentially present to consciousness
2 : a formulated thought or opinion

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Comments on idea

What made you want to look up idea? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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