ide·​ate ˈī-dē-ˌāt How to pronounce ideate (audio)
ideated; ideating

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.

Example Sentences

the psychotic would repeatedly ideate the act of committing murder, and eventually he came to believe his own delusions
Recent Examples on the Web The greatest need in innovation is having the runway to ideate freely and often. Quartz Creative For Baker Tilly, Quartz, 29 Nov. 2022 Ogboh used his typical process—sending out questionnaires asking for one flavor to define a place—to ideate Japa. Emma Balter, Chron, 26 Oct. 2022 This atmosphere is essential for all workers to ideate, create and innovate while having their ideas and opinions given equal treatment. Dave Buss, Forbes, 4 May 2022 Often, entrepreneurs ask me how to identify opportunities for new ventures or ideate on potential ideas because of my experience as a management consultant and operator at startups. Vibhu Singh, Forbes, 16 Aug. 2022 This team should be able to help ideate, iterate, deploy and learn while observing and respecting the scope and budget. Prateek Chakravarty, Forbes, 30 June 2022 The freedom to think and ideate opens the door for new improvements for the business. Veronica Buitron, Forbes, 12 July 2022 Then, give participants 10 minutes to ideate as many Impossibles related to that topic. Lisa Bodell, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Gather a task force to ideate innovative ways to improve customer relationships, operational processes or wellness programs. Michael Kurland, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1610, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of ideate was in 1610


Dictionary Entries Near ideate

Cite this Entry

“Ideate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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