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 Like a lot of us, food pro Chungah Rhee loved the idea of a dinner-in-a-fancy-restaurant Valentine’s Day. Stephanie Thurrott, NBC News, "Valentine's Day recipes: A three-course steakhouse dinner you can make at home," 7 Feb. 2020 State and local leaders are coming from different sides of the aisle with ideas. Fox News, "Governor, mayor battle over Austin homelessness as progressive city's crisis deepens," 7 Feb. 2020 Millions of Americans have purchased DNA kits over the past decade, drawn by the idea of delving into their lineage. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Americans are losing interest in at-home DNA ancestry testing," 7 Feb. 2020 That whole winning with humility and losing with grace idea is a work in progress. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Freed of impeachment, Trump’s TV appearances put the bully in the bully pulpit," 6 Feb. 2020 President Trump and congressional Republicans are rallying around the idea of planting a trillion trees to boost their environmental credentials ahead of the 2020 election. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Trump and GOP push to help plant 1 trillion trees won't be easy," 6 Feb. 2020 The Russians, the people with knowledge of the meeting said, floated the idea of flying Russian flags on tankers leaving Venezuela’s ports, essentially daring the United States to interfere. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, "In the U.S. embargo on Venezuelan oil, Russia is a clear winner," 6 Feb. 2020 Later, as Kesselheim’s first son approached his 13th birthday, Kesselheim came up with the idea of taking each child back to their natal river as a coming-of-age journey. Krista Langlois, Outside Online, "11 Books Every Parent Needs to Raise Adventurous Kids," 6 Feb. 2020 Despite Fox allowing these ads to air, many non-political advertisers were turned off by the idea of appearing next to Trump or Bloomberg's commercials. Reed Nelson, refinery29.com, "Does The Super Bowl Usually Air Political Ads?," 2 Feb. 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

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ideas. Accessed 21 Feb. 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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