imag·​i·​na·​tion | \i-ˌma-jə-ˈnā-shən \

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

The power of self-determination, of imagination, of civic engagement—and of art, beauty, and love. Shaniqwa Jarvis, Glamour, "The 97-Year-Old Park Ranger Who Doesn’t Have Time for Foolishness," 2 Nov. 2018 But Justice Brett Kavanaugh's road to the Supreme Court was more than the culmination of years of hard work and months of political imaginations, its bond resistance moments on both ends of the political spectrum, resist Trump and resist mob rule. Fox News, "McConnell on marshalling the votes to confirm Kavanaugh," 7 Oct. 2018 On a show limited only by the human imagination (at least in theory), these adventures stay frustratingly earthbound. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Netflix’s Maniac, with Jonah Hill and Emma Stone, is either too weird or not weird enough," 21 Sep. 2018 From Tracee Ellis Ross’s bold, whimsical approach to fashion, to Tiffany Haddish’s penchant for repeating her favorite Alexander McQueen dress, black women bring imagination and energy to the red carpet. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Black Women on the September Covers Give Me Hope, But There’s Still More Work to Do," 20 Aug. 2018 Mythical creatures are based on our imagination and creation in our minds, which makes them even more stimulating. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "What Is Bigfoot Erotica? So Glad You Asked!," 30 July 2018 The original iPhone came out just a few months earlier, capturing people's imaginations and ushering in the modern smartphone era. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary," 21 July 2018 Between the two, between the presence and the absence, which is really what engages the viewer’s imagination, the photograph bears witness. The Economist, "David Goldblatt died on June 25th," 28 June 2018 Post Oak Grill has been a superior destination for fine dining with subtle flavors and delicious menus due to Chef Polo Becerra's imagination and dedication to excellence. Houston Chronicle, "Post Oak Grill," 27 June 2018

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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More Definitions for imagination



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 \

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 \

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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