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 Since the pandemic began, Boehm’s internal bingo cage has been rattling with a different idea: How there’s a third phase of recovery – one that comes after health and the economy – that hasn't been addressed: The recovery of the human spirit. USA Today, "His mom died the day before he closed 23 restaurants. Now he’s on a mission to save the industry he loves.," 27 May 2020 With little clarity on when the pandemic might end, many Europeans have already given up on the idea of a summer getaway. NBC News, "Japan to lift state of emergency on Tokyo and four remaining areas," 26 May 2020 Yet, confusion and disagreement in the Democratic ranks reign, with differing opinions on the idea of a virtual convention, even partially, as the party weighs how to woo back voters in the pivotal battleground state. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Game of chicken: Democrats grapple with convention format as Trump and Republicans push for in-person confab," 26 May 2020 What is your take on the idea of maintenance while so many people are inside? Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Jonathan Van Ness Thinks You Should Let Your Quarantine Hair Grow," 26 May 2020 The pair hit on the idea of combining the witch subgenre with the creature feature. Clark Collis, EW.com, "How low budget horror movie The Wretched became America's #1 film," 24 May 2020 Jim McKelvey and his former intern Jack Dorsey got the idea for financial-technology company Square Inc. the last time a global crisis sent the economy into a nosedive. Peter Rudegeair, WSJ, "Square’s Co-Founder: A Recession Is a Great Time to Start a Company," 24 May 2020 The treatment is premised on the idea that plasma from survivors should be rich in the antibodies that have helped them to defeat the virus. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Preliminary study of 39 patients found survivor plasma reduced the mortality of COVID-19," 22 May 2020 The thinking at the time was this was needed in order to keep people safe from the coronavirus while also stabilizing the economy, but McConnell's comments indicate how conservatives are beginning to thaw on the idea. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Mitch McConnell seeks to end Democrat's 'crazy policy' of beefed-up unemployment benefits," 21 May 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

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idea. Accessed 3 Jun. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on idea

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for idea

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with idea

Spanish Central: Translation of idea

Nglish: Translation of idea for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of idea for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about idea

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