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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web In a 1962 column skewering not-in-my-backyard zealotry, Mr. Doolittle imagined a zoning fight over the construction of the Taj Mahal. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2023 Cox, who played mogul titan Logan Roy, delivered the line to his children before his untimely death one episode later, and his words haunted his children through the end of the series — and, as the audience is left to imagine, beyond the series fading to black. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Nov. 2023 The mythology of it as an aspirational place that has so much potential, with beautiful land, and as a site of imagining a perfect city are all baked into the history of Los Angeles. American Artist, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Many had joined the service during relative peace, and few could have imagined the decadeslong global war on terror that was about to unfold. Mark Yost, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2023 There were even promotional ads shot featuring Aikman dressed as Mr. T. Buck and Aikman have long outlived that and have added something else neither could have imagined. Joe Reedy, Fortune, 9 Nov. 2023 For more intimate scenes, like when Elizabeth imagines having a conversation with the late Calvin while sitting on her kitchen floor, Gordon-Crozier clad Larsen in a collegiate argyle knit (worn over a white short-sleeve shirt), cuffed dark jeans, and sneakers. Fawnia Soo Hoo,, 9 Nov. 2023 So imagine Swifties’ surprise when Mahomes popped up in the most recent Skims holiday campaign. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 9 Nov. 2023 So just imagine what that does for my mother, who was born in 1948. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

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 28 Nov. 2023.

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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