thought

1 of 2

noun

1
: something that is thought: such as
a
: an individual act or product of thinking
b
: a developed intention or plan
had no thought of leaving home
c
: something (such as an opinion or belief) in the mind
he spoke his thoughts freely
d
: the intellectual product or the organized views and principles of a period, place, group, or individual
contemporary Western thought
2
a
: the action or process of thinking : cogitation
b
: serious consideration : regard
c
3
a
: reasoning power
b
: the power to imagine : conception

thought

2 of 2

past tense and past participle of think

Phrases
a thought
: a little : somewhat
a thought too much vinegar in the dressing

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Choose the Right Synonym for thought

idea, concept, conception, thought, notion, impression mean what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan).

idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something assumed or vaguely sensed.

innovative ideas
my idea of paradise

concept may apply to the idea formed by consideration of instances of a species or genus or, more broadly, to any idea of what a thing ought to be.

a society with no concept of private property

conception is often interchangeable with concept; it may stress the process of imagining or formulating rather than the result.

our changing conception of what constitutes art

thought is likely to suggest the result of reflecting, reasoning, or meditating rather than of imagining.

commit your thoughts to paper

notion suggests an idea not much resolved by analysis or reflection and may suggest the capricious or accidental.

you have the oddest notions

impression applies to an idea or notion resulting immediately from some stimulation of the senses.

the first impression is of soaring height

Example Sentences

Noun He could easily have held the audience for a one-hour answer that ranged from his thoughts on jazz to his soap-opera career playing gangsters … Calvin Trillin, Nation, 28 May 2007 thoughts expressed while sitting alone at the keyboard would be put more diplomatically—or go unmentioned—face to face. Daniel Goleman, New York Times, 20 Feb. 2007 Yes, well don't forget, sir, we're viewing this with twenty-twenty hindsight, but at the time no one gave a thought to geckos or what they ate—they were just another fact of life in the tropics. T. Coraghessan Boyle, Harper's, April 1993 My first thought was that something must have changed. The thought of leaving never crossed my mind. Do you have any thoughts about the subject? She abandoned all thoughts of going home. It was just a thought. She was lost in thought. She abandoned all thought of going home. They should have put more thought into the proposal. While you're enjoying the holidays, you should spare a thought for those who are less fortunate. He has no thought for anyone but himself. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Green thought that showed real class and invited Pate over for lunch in her backyard. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 18 Sep. 2022 The progressive congregation blends contemporary thought with tradition. San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Sep. 2022 Some have speculated that the attacks could be directed at what the educational institutions represent: Ukrainian thought, culture and language. Michael Schwirtz, New York Times, 16 Sep. 2022 That’s another thought to hold in the back of your mind while watching the film, which is, true to form, larded with flashbacks and the occasional on-screen title detailing the passage of time. Michael O'sullivan, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2022 The thought that our way of life could be taken away from us, everyone in that room held on to each note that night. Jason Morris, SPIN, 11 Sep. 2022 Aside from her talent, the executive thought Hudson had the chops to carry her own talk show because of her authenticity and life experience. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 9 Sep. 2022 There’s not even a thought of a world outside of The Beatles. Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, 7 Sep. 2022 The thought of not making the team out of spring training, or being designated for assignment still lingers. Julian Mcwilliams, BostonGlobe.com, 7 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thought.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from Old English thōht; akin to Old English thencan to think — more at think

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of thought was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near thought

Cite this Entry

“Thought.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thought. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition

thought 1 of 2

past tense and past participle of think

thought

2 of 2

noun

1
: the act or process of thinking
She was deep in thought.
2
: something (as an idea or opinion) formed in the mind
What are your thoughts on the matter?
3
: serious attention
Give thought to the future.

Medical Definition

thought

noun

1
a
: the action or process of thinking
b
: serious consideration
2
a
: reasoning power
b
: the power to imagine : conception
3
: something that is thought: as
a
: an individual act or product of thinking
b
: a developed intention or plan
he had no thought of leaving home
c
: something (as an opinion or belief) in the mind
she spoke her thoughts freely
d
: the intellectual product or the organized views and principles of a period, place, group, or individual

More from Merriam-Webster on thought

Last Updated: 24 Sep 2022

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