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

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 China’s assertiveness suggests America needs India even more than Mr Bush imagined. The Economist, "The Indian-American underachiever," 28 June 2018 One can imagine industry advocates raising good-faith objections to the conclusions of any given study. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The EPA Is Hiding Proof That a Widely Used Chemical Causes Leukemia: Report," 6 July 2018 To put this in perspective, imagine if South Sudan, the world’s youngest country and one now engulfed in civil war, were to be in a Cup final in a decade or so. The Christian Science Monitor, "Why this World Cup final is like no other," 13 July 2018 There’s a chuckle when Bobby Beathard imagines the scene. Bryce Miller,, "Former Chargers GM Bobby Beathard could be most special NFL Hall inductee of all," 13 July 2018 When the world does not respond to her commands, our narrator begins to imagine another world. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 One of its conceptual flaws was a failure to imagine political parties, which can effectively subordinate one branch to the other. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan Unaware Constitution Lets Congress Override Presidential Veto," 12 July 2018 The Panthers’ secondary has long thrived on such slights — real or imagined. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Is a Panthers defensive line with 3 Pro Bowlers and Julius Peppers underappreciated?," 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

Phrases Related to imagine

imagine that

Statistics for imagine

Last Updated

19 Sep 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

What made you want to look up imagine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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