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 When Infante told Pique of his plan to tattoo Beckham Jr.'s signature on his arm, Pique relayed the idea to Beckham Jr. Hayden Grove, cleveland.com, "Odell Beckham Jr. signs special autograph for fan who will have it tattooed," 17 Sep. 2019 Computer vision has grown from a pie-in-the-sky idea into a sprawling field. Quanta Magazine, "Computers and Humans ‘See’ Differently. Does It Matter?," 17 Sep. 2019 How has the idea that there’s an emergency at the border played into the arguments made by the government in court? Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "An Immigration Attorney at the A.C.L.U. on Fighting Trump’s Asylum Ban," 17 Sep. 2019 Given these two figures, and the bombardment rate by micrometeoroids, the rings must be young, the idea goes. Mike Wall, Scientific American, "Saturn’s Rings May Be Ancient After All," 17 Sep. 2019 Among The Water Dancer’s most laudable qualities is Coates’s decision to extend this idea into fiction. Eric Herschthal, The New Republic, "How Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Novel Reckons With the Past," 17 Sep. 2019 Unfortunately, the superintendent rejected these ideas. baltimoresun.com, "Letters: Busing isn’t the answer to Howard schools’ disparity problem; and more from readers," 17 Sep. 2019 The bid approved was the lowest of five proposals from three bidders after commissioners endorse the idea in April. Jerry Fallstrom, orlandosentinel.com, "Lake moves forward with Groveland Four monument, plans further displays of black history, civil rights," 16 Sep. 2019 The idea for the first such presidential summit since the Iranian revolution in 1979 was pushed by France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, at the G7 summit in Biarritz last month. The Economist, "The attack on Saudi oil facilities raises the risks of war," 16 Sep. 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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Statistics for idea

Last Updated

3 Nov 2019

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
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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