Synonyms & Antonyms of imaginary

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Frequently Asked Questions About imaginary

How does the adjective imaginary contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of imaginary are chimerical, fanciful, fantastic, quixotic, and visionary. While all these words mean "unreal or unbelievable," imaginary applies to something which is fictitious and purely the product of one's imagination.

an imaginary desert isle

How does the word chimerical relate to other synonyms for imaginary?

Chimerical combines the implication of visionary and fantastic.

chimerical dreams of future progress

In what contexts can fanciful take the place of imaginary?

In some situations, the words fanciful and imaginary are roughly equivalent. However, fanciful suggests the free play of the imagination.

a teller of fanciful stories

When is it sensible to use fantastic instead of imaginary?

The words fantastic and imaginary can be used in similar contexts, but fantastic implies incredibility or strangeness beyond belief.

a fantastic world inhabited by monsters

When could quixotic be used to replace imaginary?

Although the words quixotic and imaginary have much in common, quixotic implies a devotion to romantic or chivalrous ideals unrestrained by ordinary prudence and common sense.

a quixotic crusade

When is visionary a more appropriate choice than imaginary?

While in some cases nearly identical to imaginary, visionary stresses impracticality or incapability of realization.

visionary schemes

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The first known use of imaginary was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Imaginary.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on imaginary

Nglish: Translation of imaginary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imaginary for Arabic Speakers


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