• synonyms


[im-uh-jiz-uh m]
noun Literature.
  1. (often initial capital letter) a theory or practice of a group of poets in England and America between 1909 and 1917 who believed that poetry should employ the language of common speech, create new rhythms, have complete freedom in subject matter, and present a clear, concentrated, and precise image.
  2. a style of poetry that employs free verse and the patterns and rhythms of common speech.
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Origin of imagism

First recorded in 1910–15; image + -ism
Related formsim·ag·ist, noun, adjectiveim·ag·is·tic, adjectiveim·ag·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for imagists

Historical Examples

  • In this sense the Imagists are descendants of the Symbolistes; they are Individualists.

    Some Imagist Poets, 1916

    Richard Aldington

  • It is not what Imagists write about which makes them hard of comprehension; it is the way they write it.

    Some Imagist Poets, 1916

    Richard Aldington

  • The day of tropes in poetry is, in spite of the Imagists, on the decline.

  • Scarcely a photoplay but hints at the Imagists in one scene.

  • On this point (rule three for the Imagists) Miss Lowell falters awkwardly.

British Dictionary definitions for imagists


  1. a poetic movement in England and America between 1912 and 1917, initiated chiefly by Ezra Pound, advocating the use of ordinary speech and the precise presentation of images
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Derived Formsimagist, noun, adjectiveimagistic, adjectiveimagistically, adverb
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 imagists



name of a movement in poetry that sought clarity of expression through use of precise visual images, "hard light, clear edges," coined 1912 by Ezra Pound; see image + -ism. Related: Imagist.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper