noun imag·i·na·tion \ i-ˌma-jə-ˈnā-shən \
Updated on: 20 Mar 2018

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
2 a : 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
3 a : a creation of the mind; especially : an idealized or poetic creation
b : fanciful or empty assumption

Examples of imagination in a Sentence

  1. You can find a solution if you use a little imagination.

  2. The author does not tell us what happens to the characters. We have to use our imagination.

  3. He's a competent writer, but he lacks imagination.

  4. Is it just my imagination, or is it getting warm in here?

Recent Examples of imagination from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

IMAGINATION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of imagination for English Language Learners

  • : 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

IMAGINATION Defined for Kids


noun imag·i·na·tion \ i-ˌma-jə-ˈnā-shən \

Definition of imagination for Students

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?

Medical Dictionary


noun 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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an ideal or imaginary place

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