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 Nothing sparks creativity like somebody coming up with a good idea in a meeting. Kathryn Dill, WSJ, "What People Really Love (and Hate) About Remote Work," 18 Oct. 2020 Big events are a bad idea right now and the president's campaign did what? NBC News, "Meet the Press - October 18, 2020," 18 Oct. 2020 That is a good idea, but don’t forget there is no real ice yet. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Surprise! It’s winter in the Alaska Range foothills, so if you’re planning to hunt caribou, be prepared," 17 Oct. 2020 Indoor restaurant dining and drinking, for example, is probably not a good idea in most parts of the U.S. right now. Tyler Cowen Bloomberg Opinion (tns), Star Tribune, "The Great Barrington Declaration: A dangerous libertarian strategy for herd immunity," 16 Oct. 2020 That was the idea when the Bucs signed him to a two-year, $50 million contract in March. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Buccaneers-Packers showdown might cast Tom Brady in mismatch vs. red-hot Aaron Rodgers," 16 Oct. 2020 For Amy Glosser, the owner of Byklyn, an independent cycling studio in Brooklyn, New York, outdoor classes seemed like a good idea in theory, but came with practical challenges. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Gyms are embracing the outdoors to escape COVID-19 — as long as the weather holds," 16 Oct. 2020 Cristobal Balenciaga’s 1967 single seam wedding dress seems like a good idea for right now, an expression of concision and ingenuity shown with a dramatic curved hat meant to act as the look’s veil. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The Spring 2021 Accessories Trend Report," 15 Oct. 2020 Because spinach is one of those ingredients that’s widely available year-round, loading up on new spinach recipes is never a bad idea. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "45 Delicious Spinach Recipes for Getting Your Greens," 15 Oct. 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

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idea. Accessed 26 Oct. 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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Comments on idea

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