imag·​ine i-ˈma-jən How to pronounce imagine (audio)
imagined; imagining i-ˈma-jə-niŋ How to pronounce imagine (audio)

transitive verb

: to form a mental image of (something not present)
imagine accidents at every turn
: suppose, guess
I imagine it will rain
: to form a notion of without sufficient basis : fancy
imagines himself to be a charming conversationalist
archaic : plan, scheme
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.
Recent Examples on the Web Pollard imagines the origins of many of the tales gathered by Charles Perrault. Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2024 Readers are transported from ancient West Africa to medieval Scandinavia, imagining the rich reds and browns of the desert and cool blues and greens of Northern Europe. Taijuan Moorman, USA TODAY, 14 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for imagine 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'imagine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near imagine

Cite this Entry

“Imagine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


imag·​ine im-ˈaj-ən How to pronounce imagine (audio)
imagined; imagining -ˈaj-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce imagine (audio)
: to form a mental picture of : use the imagination
: think sense 2, suppose
I imagine it will snow

Medical Definition


imag·​ine im-ˈaj-ən How to pronounce imagine (audio)
imagined; imagining -ˈaj-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce imagine (audio)

transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on imagine

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