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 idea (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 Your big idea could wind up residing next to Statham’s in George Cleverley’s league of footwear legends. Kareem Rashed, Robb Report, "How British Bespoke Shoemaker George Cleverley Thrived During a Year of Flip-Flops and Sneakers," 29 Mar. 2021 But in the end Germany’s finance minister won over the 52-year-old Briton, who perfectly fits his idea of the next BaFin boss: an outsider with international experience who knows the banking industry. The Economist, "Battered Bafin’s new boss Branson," 27 Mar. 2021 Therapy seems to have absorbed not just our language but our idea of the good life; its framework of fulfillment and reciprocity, compassion and care, increasingly drives our vision for society. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "The Rise of Therapy-Speak," 26 Mar. 2021 Behind the photograph: My first idea was to have Ibtihaj wearing a fencing uniform. Los Angeles Times, "Celebrating Women Photographers: Christina House," 26 Mar. 2021 Her idea was ultimately successful and the vocational-education program expanded into the high school before it was later transformed into an actual café in Palo Alto. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Café Focused on 'Elevating' People with Disabilities Holds Auction to Stay Afloat During COVID," 25 Mar. 2021 Through product reviews and conversations with customers, Powell learned that his idea was making an impact on people’s lives. Jenny Rudolph, Dallas News, "A vacation abroad gives a Denton entrepreneur an idea he’s now pitching on Shark Tank," 25 Mar. 2021 For a brief period, the company pumped the brakes on its original idea of building a tool to suggest vacation ideas, spending time focused on mobile airfare-shopping instead. BostonGlobe.com, "Travel tech firm Hopper raises $170 million, gears up for vacation boom," 24 Mar. 2021 In dozens of right-wing media interviews between the Nov. 3 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection, Brooks spelled out his idea. Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica, "Mo Brooks Compared Biden’s Election to the Start of the Civil War. Now He Wants a Senate Seat.," 22 Mar. 2021

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 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Idea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idea. Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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 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

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