[ ih-maj-uh-ner-ee ]
/ ɪˈmædʒ əˌnɛr i /


existing only in the imagination or fancy; not real; fancied: an imaginary illness; the imaginary animals in the stories of Dr. Seuss.

noun, plural im·ag·i·nar·ies.

Mathematics. imaginary number.

Origin of imaginary

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin imāginārius, equivalent to imāgin-, (stem of imāgō) image + -ārius -ary
SYNONYMS FOR imaginary
ANTONYMS FOR imaginary
1 real.
Related forms
Can be confusedimaginary imaginative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for imaginarily


/ (ɪˈmædʒɪnərɪ, -dʒɪnrɪ) /


existing in the imagination; unreal; illusory
maths involving or containing imaginary numbers. The imaginary part of a complex number, z, is usually written Im z
Derived Formsimaginarily, adverbimaginariness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for imaginarily



"not real," late 14c., ymaginaire, from imagine + -ary; or else from Late Latin imaginarius "seeming, fancied," from imaginari. Imaginary friend (one who does not exist) attested by 1789.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper