[ ahy-dee-ey-shuhn ]
/ ˌaɪ diˈeɪ ʃən /
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the process of forming ideas or images.
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Origin of ideation

First recorded in 1820–30; ideate + -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does ideation mean?

Ideation is the act or process of forming ideas or images in one’s mind.

Warning: This article involves discussion of the sensitive topic of suicide. If you or someone you know needs support, call the toll-free, 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text HOME to 741741 for free to get 24/7 support from the Crisis Text Line.

The term ideation is especially used in the context of psychology to refer to thought processes focusing on a particular action, as in phrases like suicidal ideation (suicidal thoughts) and violent ideation (thoughts about committing violence).

Sometimes, ideation is used to refer to the kind of brainstorming done in a business setting to generate new ideas.

Ideation is the noun form of the verb ideate, meaning to form ideas or to think.

Example: During meditation, you are encouraged to refrain from ideation of any kind—clear your mind of all thoughts.

Where does ideation come from?

The first records of ideation come from the 1800s. The verb ideate is recorded earlier, in the 1600s, and derives from the Latin verb ideare, from the Greek idea, meaning “model,” “pattern,” or “notion.” This is also where the word idea comes from.

Ideation can be another way to say thinking, but it’s usually used in a slightly more specific way. Ideation is idea creation—the formation of thoughts and mental images. It’s often used in the context of business development to refer to brainstorming for new products or business opportunities.

Ideation is also used in a more specific way in psychology. It’s especially used in the phrase suicidal ideation, which is a more technical way of saying suicidal thoughts—or, more precisely, the process of having suicidal thoughts.

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What are some other forms related to ideation?

What are some words that share a root or word element with ideation



What are some words that often get used in discussing ideation?

What are some words ideation may be commonly confused with?

How is ideation used in real life?

Ideation is most often used in the context of business and psychology. It’s a more technical way to refer to thinking or the thought process.



Try using ideation!

Is ideation used correctly in the following sentence? 

The goal of today’s session is just to focus on ideation—just come up with ideas and don’t worry about how to execute them.

How to use ideation in a sentence

Medical definitions for ideation

[ ī′dē-āshən ]

The formation of ideas or mental images.

Other words from ideation

ide•ate′ v.i′de•ation•al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.