- any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity.
- a thought, conception, or notion: That is an excellent idea.
- an impression: He gave me a general idea of how he plans to run the department.
- an opinion, view, or belief: His ideas on raising children are certainly strange.
- a plan of action; an intention: the idea of becoming an engineer.
- a groundless supposition; fantasy.
- a concept developed by the mind.
- a conception of what is desirable or ought to be; ideal.
- (initial capital letter)Platonism.Also called form.an archetype or pattern of which the individual objects in any natural class are imperfect copies and from which they derive their being.
- Kantianism.idea of pure reason.
- Music. a theme, phrase, or figure.
- a likeness.
- a mental image.
Origin of idea
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for idea
We need to recover and grow the idea that the proper answer to bad speech is more and better speech.How the PC Police Threaten Free Speech
January 9, 2015
The use of slurs from both characters makes it clear just how “new” the idea of an openly gay son is even in this time.‘Empire’ Review: Hip-Hop Musical Chairs with an Insane Soap Opera Twist
January 8, 2015
I like the idea of Jon Hamm… There have been discussions—though I'm not sure how serious they've been.‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS
January 8, 2015
But at the heart of this “Truther” conspiracy theory is the idea that “someone” wants to destroy Bill Cosby.Phylicia Rashad and the Cult of Cosby Truthers
January 8, 2015
“The US cannot tolerate the idea of any rival economic entity,” Stone writes.Oliver Stone’s Latest Dictator Suckup
January 5, 2015
The other idea was absurd—too wild for serious consideration.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
To solve their problem the engineers borrowed an idea from the Sumerians.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
And yet the idea cleaves to me strangely, and is liable to stick to my shroud.
She disliked the idea of meeting Evelyn in the dean's office.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
He might plant two shots before there was a return; he let the idea slip away from him.Way of the Lawless
- any content of the mind, esp the conscious mind
- the thought of somethingthe very idea appals me
- a mental representation of somethingshe's got a good idea of the layout of the factory
- the characterization of something in general terms; conceptthe idea of a square circle is self-contradictory
- an individual's conception of somethinghis idea of honesty is not the same as yours and mine
- the belief that something is the casehe has the idea that what he's doing is right
- a scheme, intention, plan, etchere's my idea for the sales campaign
- a vague notion or indication; inklinghe had no idea of what life would be like in Africa
- significance or purposethe idea of the game is to discover the murderer
- a private mental object, regarded as the immediate object of thought or perception
- a Platonic Idea or Form
- music a thematic phrase or figure; motif
- obsolete a mental image
- get ideas to become ambitious, restless, etc
- not one's idea of not what one regards as (hard work, a holiday, etc)
- that's an idea that is worth considering
- the very idea! that is preposterous, unreasonable, etc
- another name for Form
Word Origin and History for idea
late 14c., "archetype of a thing in the mind of God; Platonic `idea,'" from Latin idea "idea," and in Platonic philosophy "archetype," from Greek idea "ideal prototype," literally "the look of a thing (as opposed to the reality); form; kind, sort, nature," from idein "to see," from PIE *wid-es-ya-, suffixed form of root *weid- "to see" (see vision). Sense of "result of thinking" first recorded 1640s.
Men of one idea, like a hen with one chicken, and that a duckling. [Thoreau, "Walden"]
Idée fixe (1836) is from French, literally "fixed idea."
- Something, such as a thought or conception, that potentially or actually exists in the mind as a product of mental activity.