- 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.
- a likeness.
- a mental image.
Origin of idea
historical usage of idea
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 ).
OTHER WORDS FROM ideai·de·a·less, adjectivepre·i·de·a, nounsub·i·de·a, noun
How to use idea in a sentence
Submission is less a novel of ideas than a political book, and of the most subversive kind.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President|Pierre Assouline|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
And it must make sure that the platform of debate where we can freely exchange ideas is safe and sound.Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Our Duty Is to Keep Charlie Hebdo Alive|Ayaan Hirsi Ali|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
I believe in the power of institutions—Congress, public policy, certain ideas about politics—that last for a long time.
In conversation, her ideas emerge at a roiling boil that often takes on a momentum of its own.Daphne Merkin on Lena Dunham, Book Criticism, and Self-Examination|Mindy Farabee|December 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
What sets him apart from so many of his contemporaries was his rare immunity from the influence of prevailing ideas.
Everything is topsy-turvy in Europe according to our moral ideas, and they don't have what we call "men" over here.
With him one is at high pressure all the time, and I have gained a good many more ideas from him than I can work up in a hurry.
But hitherto, before these new ideas began to spread in our community, the mass of men and women definitely settled down.The Salvaging Of Civilisation|H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
She must be freed through the progress of Liberal ideas in France and Germany—not by her own inherent energies.Glances at Europe|Horace Greeley
The thoughts of most of us are little more than imitations and adaptations of the ideas of stronger minds.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice|Stephen Leacock
British Dictionary definitions for idea (1 of 2)
- a private mental object, regarded as the immediate object of thought or perception
- a Platonic Idea or Form
Derived forms of ideaidealess, adjective
Word Origin for idea
usage for idea
British Dictionary definitions for idea (2 of 2)
Medical definitions for idea
Other Idioms and Phrases with idea
see bright idea; put ideas in someone's head; what's the idea.