imagination

noun

imag·​i·​na·​tion i-ˌma-jə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce imagination (audio)
1
: the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
2
a
: creative ability
b
: ability to confront and deal with a problem : resourcefulness
use your imagination and get us out of here
c
: the thinking or active mind : interest
stories that fired the imagination
3
a
: a creation of the mind
especially : an idealized or poetic creation
b
: fanciful or empty assumption

Example Sentences

You can find a solution if you use a little imagination. The author does not tell us what happens to the characters. We have to use our imagination. He's a competent writer, but he lacks imagination. Is it just my imagination, or is it getting warm in here?
Recent Examples on the Web The sheer power and capability of ChatGPT have fueled the public’s imagination about just what could be possible with AI. Bernard Marr, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 The ballet is an exploration of contemporary rituals, as well as the way founding myths shape collective imagination. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 24 Jan. 2023 Slater played Clarence Worley, an Elvis Presley fanatic, while Kilmer portrayed the Mentor, an Elvis-like figment of Clarence’s imagination. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Jan. 2023 These attacks don’t take much imagination when inflation is running hot, and the Fair Tax has hurt GOP candidates before. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 20 Jan. 2023 Even 60 years after the debut of Where the Wild Things Are, few children’s books capture the imagination like Maurice Sendak’s classic. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 19 Jan. 2023 Using machine learning to forecast the location of coming viral surges may take another leap of imagination for these agencies, Santillana said. Melissa Healystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 19 Jan. 2023 The core notion that the job of the police is to protect the citizenry has been buried during the left’s hijacking of public institutions for their redistributive, re-education, racialized re-imagination of public safety. Robert Steinbuch, Arkansas Online, 8 Jan. 2023 But these conditions do create a demand for extraordinary strategic imagination. Graham Allison, Time, 5 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English ymaginacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French ymaginacion, borrowed from Latin imāginātiōn-, imāginātiō, from imāginārī "to imagine" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near imagination

Cite this Entry

“Imagination.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imagination. Accessed 30 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

imagination

noun
imag·​i·​na·​tion im-ˌaj-ə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce imagination (audio)
1
: the act or power of forming a mental picture of something not present and especially of something one has not known or experienced
2
: creative ability
3
: a creation of the mind

Medical Definition

imagination

noun
imag·​i·​na·​tion im-ˌaj-ə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce imagination (audio)
: an act or process of forming a conscious idea or mental image of something never before wholly perceived in reality by the one forming the images (as through a synthesis of remembered elements of previous sensory experiences or ideas as modified by unconscious defense mechanisms)
also : the ability or gift of forming such conscious ideas or mental images especially for the purposes of artistic or intellectual creation

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