ide·​a·​tion | \ ˌī-dē-ˈā-shən \

Definition of ideation

: the capacity for or the act of forming or entertaining ideas suicidal ideation

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of ideation in a Sentence

caregivers are trained to watch for signs of depression and suicidal ideation—some patients are likely to put their fantasies to action

Recent Examples on the Web

Data shows that suicide ideation and attempts are much more common among trans kids than cis kids. Anthony Gerace, Teen Vogue, "Betsy DeVos Says She Wants to Keep Schools Safe and Equitable. Her Policies Tell a Different Story," 28 Aug. 2018 Some show signs of major depression, which can lead to suicidal ideation or attempts. Arian Campo-flores And Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "After Immigrant Families Are Reunited, Scars of Separation Remain," 15 July 2018 So data scientists at Crisis Text Line are using machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to pull out the words and emojis that can signal a person at higher risk of suicide ideation or self-harm. Brian Resnick, Vox, "How data scientists are using AI for suicide prevention," 8 June 2018 Trigger Warning: This piece is one writer's experience with depression and ADHD and includes mentions of suicidal ideation. Kayleigh Roberts, Allure, "Why Women With ADHD Like Me Get Diagnosed So Late in Adulthood," 25 Oct. 2018 How design can help: Enclosed, comfortable booths promote focus [3], while open floor plans [4] with low seating, high ceilings and outdoor views can aid in brainstorming and creative ideation. John Medina And, WSJ, "How Neuroscience Is Optimizing the Office," 1 May 2018 Helping establish relationships between students and faculty can also serve as a preventive measure with regard to suicidal ideation, violence, bullying, etc. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Suicide: How schools should approach the subject with students," 8 June 2018 According to one study, when transgender people are able to use their names in everyday life (and not called by their dead name), their risk of depression and suicidal ideation decreases. Caitlin Wolper, Teen Vogue, "Ontario Just Issued its First Non-Binary Birth Certificate," 8 May 2018 But some experts were concerned that a viewer who may be in a similar situation as Hannah, who has suicidal ideation, may feel discouraged by the show and shy away from talking to a parent, guardian, or counselor. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Here’s What 7 Mental Health Experts Really Think About ‘13 Reasons Why’," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ideation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ideation

1818, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ideation

Statistics for ideation

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ideation

The first known use of ideation was in 1818

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ideation



Financial Definition of ideation

What It Is

Ideation is the act of forming ideas.

How It Works

For example, let's say Company XYZ makes widgets, and it wants to get into the children's widget market. Its product development team starts brainstorming ideas for specs, features and production methods.

This ideation process includes listing possible product features, designing prototypes, manufacturing prototypes, doing market research, and going back to square one with various iterations until something marketable and profitable emerges.

In a purely marketing context, ideation might involve creating an image board or concept for advertising.

Why It Matters

Ideation is what many business people spend a significant time doing. Without creativity, experimentation and dreaming, businesses would be far less innovative and thus far less profitable.

Source: Investing Answers


ide·​a·​tion | \ ˌīd-ē-ˈā-shən \

Medical Definition of ideation

: the capacity for or the act of forming or entertaining ideas suicidal ideation

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ideation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ideation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ideation

Britannica English: Translation of ideation for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ideation

What made you want to look up ideation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!