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

Bookchin considered Sanders’s ideas to be already dated, a throwback to industrial worker–centered radicalism of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Matthew Zeitlin, The New Republic, "Bernie’s Red Vermont," 13 June 2019 And can toys themselves start to grow up, even become parents, as Woody does to Forky (in a manner of speaking)? Toy Story 4 fits these ideas into a rip-roaring, 100-minute running time, polished with the usual Pixar sheen. David Sims, The Atlantic, "A Plaything Made Out of Trash Is the Real Star of Toy Story 4," 13 June 2019 Similarly, money could potentially be saved by hiring a contractor who could more efficiently manage digital access to the Landsat data, but USGS must study this idea more closely. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Keep Landsat data free, panel urges Department of the Interior," 12 June 2019 The loudest voices, the boldest ideas are coming from women—from Speaker Pelosi down to my millennial congressional colleagues. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, "Lauren Underwood Is Doing Her 30s Better Than Just About Anyone We Know," 12 June 2019 Pulling safely under covered parking or in a parking garage is a good idea. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Hail these driving hints!," 11 June 2019 The idea suggests that as multicellular life evolved, so did the parasites and pathogens that plagued it. Jon Kelvey, Smithsonian, "The Evolution of Sex Could Have Provided a Defense Against Cancer Cells," 11 June 2019 But some firms are looking to transform the idea and provide a point-to-point passenger vehicle service–or a flying taxi. Mike Cherney, WSJ, "Drones to Carry People Have Yet to Take Off, but They Will Have a Place to Land," 11 June 2019 Ensign recommended several types of trees and referred O’Gorman to the city of Poway’s landscaping guidelines for other ideas on what to plant. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Plans underway for 12 new homes, equipment sales business," 11 June 2019

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

16 Jun 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with idea

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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