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 mental image.
The Greek noun idéa comes from the very common, very complicated Proto-Indo-European root weid-, woid-, wid- “to see.” In Greek the variant woid- forms the verb oîda ( woîda in some dialects), meaning “I know.” (In form, oîda is a perfect tense used to show a present state: “I have seen, I know.”)
Woidos, a noun derived from woid-, becomes veda- “knowledge” in Sanskrit ( Rig-Veda means “knowledge of the hymns, sacred stanzas”). The variant wid- forms the Greek noun idéa, and the infinitive ideîn (also wideîn ), the Latin infinitive vidēre, and the Slavic (Czech) vidět, all meaning “to see.”
Weid-, woid-, wid- become wīt-, wait-, wit- in Germanic. The suffixed form wīt-to- forms the adjective wīsaz, Old English wīs (English wise ), and Old English wīsdōm “learning” (English wisdom ).
- i·de·a·less, adjective
- pre·i·de·a, noun
- sub·i·de·a, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use idea in a sentence
Gin was just a flickering idea, the way some journos muse about writing novels.When Dead Beer Walks: A Dane in Vietnam Turns Strange Brew Into Craft Gin | Eugene Robinson | February 12, 2021 | Ozy
As a means to help their patients talk about sexual freedom and risk-taking, sex therapists were using the idea of getting out of a physical comfort zone in the outdoors.
Bernard Azevedo, the terminated CPUC auditor who first alleged that $200 million was outstanding, said in an interview that he has been worried all along that the CPUC has little idea of what it is owed.Utility Companies Owe Millions to This State Regulatory Agency. The Problem? The Agency Can’t Track What It’s Owed. | by Scott Morris, Bay City News Foundation | February 10, 2021 | ProPublica
Finally, because lab testing reflects only a narrow percentage of real-life crashes, we have little idea about how realistic it is.
What’s particularly puzzling about Roy’s comments is this idea that mentioning Wright’s diagnosis is somehow partisan.What you’re saying when you say that covering the coronavirus is partisan | Philip Bump | February 9, 2021 | Washington Post
We need to recover and grow the idea that the proper answer to bad speech is more and better speech.
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 | Judnick Mayard | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
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 | Marlow Stern | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
But at the heart of this “Truther” conspiracy theory is the idea that “someone” wants to destroy Bill Cosby.
“The US cannot tolerate the idea of any rival economic entity,” Stone writes.
If you have any thoughts of influencing me or my men to join the regular Confederate army, you may as well give up the idea.The Courier of the Ozarks | Byron A. Dunn
His idea was that there would be ample time later to order a concentration on either wing or on the centre.Napoleon's Marshals | R. P. Dunn-Pattison
I cannot reconcile the idea of a tender Heavenly Father with the known horrors of war, slavery, pestilence, and insanity.God and my Neighbour | Robert Blatchford
While Benjy sat contemplating this creature, and wondering what was to be the end of it all, a bright idea occurred to him.The Giant of the North | R.M. Ballantyne
This was such a ridiculous idea that Davy threw back his head, and laughed long and loud.Davy and The Goblin | Charles E. Carryl
British Dictionary definitions for idea (1 of 2)
any content of the mind, esp the conscious mind
the thought of something: the very idea appals me
a mental representation of something: she's got a good idea of the layout of the factory
the characterization of something in general terms; concept: the idea of a square circle is self-contradictory
an individual's conception of something: his idea of honesty is not the same as yours and mine
the belief that something is the case: he has the idea that what he's doing is right
a scheme, intention, plan, etc: here's my idea for the sales campaign
a vague notion or indication; inkling: he had no idea of what life would be like in Africa
significance or purpose: the 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
- idealess, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for Idea (2 of 2)
another name for Form
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Other Idioms and Phrases with idea
see bright idea; put ideas in someone's head; what's the idea.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.