ide·​ate | \ˈī-dē-ˌāt \
ideated; ideating

Definition of ideate 

transitive verb

: to form an idea or conception of

intransitive verb

: to form an idea

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See the Origin of Ideate

Like idea and ideal, ideate comes from the Greek verb idein, which means "to see." The sight-thought connection came courtesy of Plato, the Greek philosopher who based his theory of the ideal on the concept of seeing, claiming that a true philosopher can see the essential nature of things and can recognize their ideal form or state. Early uses of idea, ideal, and ideate in English were associated with Platonic philosophy; idea meant "an archetype" or "a standard of perfection," ideal meant "existing as an archetype," and ideate referred to forming Platonic ideas. But though ideate is tied to ancient philosophy, the word itself is a modern concoction, relatively speaking. It first appeared in English only about 400 years ago.

Examples of ideate in a Sentence

the psychotic would repeatedly ideate the act of committing murder, and eventually he came to believe his own delusions

Recent Examples on the Web

She and former Senior Director of Garden Development Mark Bullitt would pour hours into ideating the perfect Village landscape a whole six months before her team could get their boots on the ground in the Arboretum's Pecan Grove. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "The Dallas Arboretum Uses 100,000 Pumpkins to Build Its Annual Fall Village," 12 Oct. 2018 In practice, this means ideating, designing, and manufacturing offerings that are all but absent in the beauty space, like highlighters and bronzers that work for all skin tones, especially those on the darker end of the spectrum. Shammara Lawrence, Allure, "Beauty Bakerie CEO Cashmere Nicole Opens Up About the Inclusive Indie Makeup Brand's Massive Success," 30 Apr. 2018 While there’s still very little known about the brand, on purpose, the aesthetics and story are inanely compelling, politically important, and perhaps socially radical for the city in which the clothes are ideated. Mathias Rosenzweig, Billboard, "In The Heart of Political Ukraine, Kiev Clothing Anonymously Explores Gay Eastern Europe," 8 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ideate.' 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 ideate

1610, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for ideate

The first known use of ideate was in 1610

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ideate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ideate

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a nest or breeding place

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