imag·​i·​na·​tion | \ i-ˌma-jə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce imagination (audio) \

Definition of imagination

1 : the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
2a : creative ability
b : ability to confront and deal with a problem : resourcefulness use your imagination and get us out of here
c : the thinking or active mind : interest stories that fired the imagination
3a : a creation of the mind especially : an idealized or poetic creation
b : fanciful or empty assumption

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Examples of imagination in a Sentence

You can find a solution if you use a little imagination. The author does not tell us what happens to the characters. We have to use our imagination. He's a competent writer, but he lacks imagination. Is it just my imagination, or is it getting warm in here?
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Recent Examples on the Web As far as cut and fit goes, wetsuit pants are figure-hugging and may leave little to the imagination. Sian Babish,, "The best women’s wetsuit pant," 3 Oct. 2020 Published just six years before his death at age 66, the book masqueraded as reporting but was mostly another reach of the imagination. Washington Post, "John Steinbeck and biographer William Souder make a perfect pair," 1 Oct. 2020 When Mildred wakes up, Gwendolyn assures her this fear is just her imagination. Ariana Romero,, "Netflix’s Ratched Finale Promises A Bonkers Season 2," 20 Sep. 2020 In the incredible photos, Cyrus modelled a sheer bodysuit by Mugler, which left very little to the imagination. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Miley Cyrus Poses in a Sheer Mugler Bodysuit Ahead of Her iHeartRadio Music Festival Performance," 19 Sep. 2020 The movie also leaves little to the imagination in exposing the horrors of Civil War combat, but only alludes to the full range of dangers experienced by black soldiers on the battlefield. Kevin M. Levin, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why ‘Glory’ Still Resonates More Than Three Decades Later," 15 Sep. 2020 Before the show's release, the author of the Virgin River book series, Robyn Carr, confirmed that the show is merely a figment of the imagination. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Where Is 'Virgin River' Filmed? Get an Inside Look at the Real Places Shown in the Netflix Show," 12 Sep. 2020 One of our biggest concerns with the original Galaxy Fold was the tiny (and not flagship level by any stretch of the imagination) 4.6-inch outer display. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Samsung gets closer to foldable perfection with the Z Fold 2, but it’ll cost you," 11 Sep. 2020 How this body will operate or ensure that its actions have any effect is left to the imagination. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "The Amorphous Biden Doctrine," 31 Aug. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for imagination

Middle English ymaginacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French ymaginacion, borrowed from Latin imāginātiōn-, imāginātiō, from imāginārī "to imagine" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

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Time Traveler for imagination

Time Traveler

The first known use of imagination was in the 14th century

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Statistics for imagination

Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Imagination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for imagination


How to pronounce imagination (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of imagination

: the ability to imagine things that are not real : the ability to form a picture in your mind of something that you have not seen or experienced
: the ability to think of new things
: something that only exists or happens in your mind


imag·​i·​na·​tion | \ i-ˌma-jə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce imagination (audio) \

Kids Definition of imagination

1 : the act, process, or power of forming a mental picture of something not present and especially of something a person has not known or experienced Her imagination kept her entertained on the long ride.
2 : creative ability Her story shows great imagination.
3 : a creation of the mind Is it just my imagination or are we moving?


imag·​i·​na·​tion | \ im-ˌaj-ə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce imagination (audio) \

Medical Definition of imagination

: an act or process of forming a conscious idea or mental image of something never before wholly perceived in reality by the one forming the images (as through a synthesis of remembered elements of previous sensory experiences or ideas as modified by unconscious defense mechanisms) also : the ability or gift of forming such conscious ideas or mental images especially for the purposes of artistic or intellectual creation

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