imag·​ine | \i-ˈma-jən \
imagined; imagining\ i-​ˈmaj-​niŋ , -​ˈma-​jə-​ \

Definition of imagine 

transitive verb

1 : to form a mental image of (something not present) imagine accidents at every turn

2 : suppose, guess I imagine it will rain

3 : to form a notion of without sufficient basis : fancy imagines himself to be a charming conversationalist

4 archaic : plan, scheme

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Choose the Right Synonym for imagine

think, conceive, imagine, fancy, realize, envisage, envision mean to form an idea of. think implies the entrance of an idea into one's mind with or without deliberate consideration or reflection. I just thought of a good joke conceive suggests the forming and bringing forth and usually developing of an idea, plan, or design. conceived of a new marketing approach imagine stresses a visualization. imagine you're at the beach fancy suggests an imagining often unrestrained by reality but spurred by desires. fancied himself a super athlete realize stresses a grasping of the significance of what is conceived or imagined. realized the enormity of the task ahead envisage and envision imply a conceiving or imagining that is especially clear or detailed. envisaged a totally computerized operation envisioned a cure for the disease

Examples of imagine in a Sentence

a writer who has imagined an entire world of amazing creatures He asked us to imagine a world without poverty or war. It's hard for me to imagine having children. He was imagining all sorts of terrible things happening. “What was that sound? I think there's someone in the house!” “Oh, you're just imagining things.” I imagine it will snow at some point today. It's difficult to imagine that these changes will really be effective. The company will do better next year, I imagine. It was worse than they had imagined.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And, as one mischievous Trump adviser told us, imagine the president moving his Twitter show to that network. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A conservative Facebook would probably fail — but Facebook should worry about it anyway," 31 Aug. 2018 Debbie, incandescent with rage, confronted Ruth in the warehouse where GLOW was rehearsing, prompting the show’s wily director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), to imagine how sparks might fly between the two women in the ring. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Love Story of Debbie and Ruth," 10 July 2018 Physicians are taught to imagine the physicality of race as a clue to literally prompt suspicion — of disease, of behavior, of background. Jennifer W. Tsai, STAT, "You can’t tell a book by its cover — or a disease by Drake’s race," 11 July 2018 It’s hard to imagine privilege working for any female citizen of the Republic of Gilead, the heavily militarized version of America that has built an infrastructure and economy on the complete subjugation of women., "The Handmaid's Tale Still Has A White Female Privilege Problem," 11 July 2018 It’s hard to imagine any team making a move that improves its playoff chances more than adding Machado would. David Murphy,, "The Phillies need another starter. Could he be pitching tonight? | David Murphy," 10 July 2018 It’s hard to imagine hearing that sentiment from Scalia — or from the president now offering to appoint Kethledge to the highest court in the land. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump’s reported Supreme Court finalists: Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Raymond Kethledge," 5 July 2018 It’s hard to imagine that ever being the case if Last 2 Walk had popped off a few hits, went platinum, and led to more diluted crossover albums that made Juicy and Paul tiresome fixtures in the news cycle rather than cult heroes. Patrick Lyons, Billboard, "10 Years Ago, Three 6 Mafia's 'Last 2 Walk' Almost Ruined Their Legacy," 24 June 2018 Notably, this is not hindsight, but something detectable in real time, though the consequences have been even worse than imagined. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "The State of the Royals, Part 1 of 2: How did they get here?," 12 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for imagine

Middle English ymagynen, borrowed from Anglo-French ymaginer, borrowed from Latin imāginārī, verbal derivative of imāgin-, imāgō "representation, semblance, image entry 1"

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Learn More about imagine

Statistics for imagine

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imagine

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

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More Definitions for imagine



English Language Learners Definition of imagine

: to think of or create (something that is not real) in your mind

: to form a picture or idea in your mind of (something that is not real or present)

: to have or form (an idea or opinion that is not accurate or based on reality)


imag·​ine | \i-ˈma-jən \
imagined; imagining

Kids Definition of imagine

1 : to form a mental picture of : use the imagination Imagine yourself grown up.

2 : think sense 1 I imagine you're right.


imag·​ine | \im-ˈaj-ən \
imagined; imagining\ -​ˈaj-​(ə-​)niŋ \

Medical Definition of imagine 

transitive verb

: to form a mental image of (something not present)

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Comments on imagine

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