idea

noun
\ī-ˈdē-ə, -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, -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

Share ideas and feedback with others, observe, and get critique of your writing. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Davie area events July 18-28," 14 July 2018 The idea was formed early last year, as officials recognized the need for permanent military training teams that could be deployed worldwide to help local forces learn how to fight better. Lolita C. Baldor, chicagotribune.com, "Army ponders changes after insider attack that killed soldier in Afghanistan," 14 July 2018 The couple hatched the idea to shift the ceremony to January. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cover your ears: Over-the-Line evolves, but the raunchy team names remain," 14 July 2018 In 2015, Tinley Park planned to pay the state what was then an asking price of $4.16 million for the property in a bid to gain greater control over what might be built there, then backed away from that idea. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "3 firms compete to develop state-owned site in Tinley Park," 13 July 2018 In that decade, the idea has spread far beyond New York. James Barron, New York Times, "Lounge in Them. Dash Through Them. But Don’t Call Them Parks.," 13 July 2018 Add Build-a-Bear to the list of companies whose great idea for a promotion went horribly wrong. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Build-a-Bear blunder: Other company promotions that epically failed," 13 July 2018 Crazy as that sounds, there is a growing body of research that supports the idea. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Extreme Flu? Weird Encephalitis? It May Be Your Genes," 13 July 2018 Neighbors had pushed back on the idea since its genesis in 2014. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Bicyclists protest as city plans for safer lanes hit bumps," 13 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near idea

IDDM

-ide

IDE

idea

ideaed

ideaistic

ideal

Statistics for idea

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for idea

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

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More Definitions for idea

idea

noun

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 \

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, ˈīd-(ˌ)ē-ə \

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

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to reject or criticize sharply

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