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 Interactive exhibition showcases the boundless limits of STEM, imagination and curiosity. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 18 Oct. 2021 The show was name-dropped in virtually all content sessions, with breathless executives applauding its imagination and investment from the SVOD. Manori Ravindran, Variety, 15 Oct. 2021 Building a work environment focused on diversity and inclusion, collaboration and listening, allows people to dream, have imagination and innovate. Robert Reiss, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 Watching the dawn come up over the festival, that was really the most eye opening thing -- and the event that really stimulated my imagination and my love for the culture that’s lasted ever since. Katie Bain, Billboard, 26 Aug. 2021 The second half of October is a good time to take a relaxing, romantic vacation or follow up on creative projects since your imagination and loving nature will be enhanced. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 14 Aug. 2021 Each piece highlights the artist’s exceptional skill, imagination and craftsmanship. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 9 Aug. 2021 Campari wanted to investigate the intersection of technology and creativity, building on its 160 year history as a brand that pushes the boundaries of art, design, and imagination. Vulture, 6 Oct. 2021 Als’s lament only looked inward at the struggle between his own hopeful imagination and the evidence accrued over a lifetime of being gay and Black. New York Times, 5 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near imagination

imaginary unit



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Statistics for imagination

Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imagination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on imagination

Nglish: Translation of imagination for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imagination for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about imagination


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