Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of Idea
Meaning of idea by Wiktionary Dictionary



    < Latin idea ( “a ( Platonic ) idea; archetype” ) < Ancient Greek ἰδέα ( idea, “notion, pattern” ) < εἴδω ( eidō, “I see” ) .


    • ( RP ) IPA: /aɪˈdɪə/, SAMPA: /aI"dI@/
    • ( GenAm ) IPA: /aɪˈdiːə/, SAMPA: /aI"di:@/
    • Rhymes: -ɪə


    idea ( plural: ideas )

    1. The transcript, image, or picture of a visible object that is formed by the mind; also, a similar image of any object whatever, whether sensible or spiritual .
    2. That which exists in the mind as the result of mental activity; a thought or a concept
      Ideas won't go to jail.—A. Whitney Griswold ( 1952 )
    3. Someone's opinion, belief or conviction that is accepted as true
    4. An intuitive notion; a feeling or hunch
    5. A plan or scheme for doing something, or an intention
    6. ( music ) A musical theme or melodic subject



    • Japanese: aidia

    Derived terms

    External links

    • idea in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • idea in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911


    frequency based on Project Gutenberg corpus">Most common English words: electronic « sea « necessary « #458: idea » reached » appeared » spoke


    • aide, A.I.ed, daie

Explanation of idea by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. an approximate calculation of quantity or degree or worth

    2. a rough idea how long it would take
    3. the content of cognition

    4. it was not a good idea
    5. a personal view

    6. he has an idea that we don't like him
    7. your intention

    8. the idea of the game is to capture all the pieces
    9. melodic subject of a musical composition

    10. the accompanist picked up the idea and elaborated it

    Definition of idea by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Idea n.; pl. Ideas [L. idea, Gr. , fr. to see; akin to E. wit: cf. F. idée. See Wit.]
      1. The transcript, image, or picture of a visible object, that is formed by the mind; also, a similar image of any object whatever, whether sensible or spiritual.

      Her sweet idea wandered through his thoughts. Fairfax.

      Being the right idea of your father

      Both in your form and nobleness of mind. Shak.

      This representation or likeness of the object being transmitted from thence [the senses] to the imagination, and lodged there for the view and observation of the pure intellect, is aptly and properly called its idea. P. Browne.

      2. A general notion, or a conception formed by generalization.

      Alice had not the slightest idea what latitude was. L. Caroll.

      3. Hence: Any object apprehended, conceived, or thought of, by the mind; a notion, conception, or thought; the real object that is conceived or thought of.

      Whatsoever the mind perceives in itself, or as the immediate object of perception, thought, or undersanding, that I call idea. Locke.

      4. A belief, option, or doctrine; a characteristic or controlling principle; as, “an essential idea; the idea of development.”

      That fellow seems to me to possess but one idea, and that is a wrong one. Johnson.

      What is now “idea” for us? How infinite the fall of this word, since the time where Milton sang of the Creator contemplating his newly-created world, --

      “how it showed . . .

      Answering his great idea,” --

      to its present use, when this person “has an idea that the train has started,” and the other “had no idea that the dinner would be so bad!” Trench.

      5. A plan or purpose of action; intention; design.

      I shortly afterwards set off for that capital, with an idea of undertaking while there the translation of the work. W. Irving.

      6. A rational conception; the complete conception of an object when thought of in all its essential elements or constituents; the necessary metaphysical or constituent attributes and relations, when conceived in the abstract.

      7. A fiction object or picture created by the imagination; the same when proposed as a pattern to be copied, or a standard to be reached; one of the archetypes or patterns of created things, conceived by the Platonists to have excited objectively from eternity in the mind of the Deity.

      Thence to behold this new-created world,

      The addition of his empire, how it showed

      In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair,

      Answering his great idea. Milton.

      ☞ “In England, Locke may be said to have been the first who naturalized the term in its Cartesian universality. When, in common language, employed by Milton and Dryden, after Descartes, as before him by Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Hooker, etc., the meaning is Platonic.” Sir W. Hamilton.

      Abstract idea, Association of ideas, etc. See under Abstract, Association, etc.

      Syn. -- Notion; conception; thought; sentiment; fancy; image; perception; impression; opinion; belief; observation; judgment; consideration; view; design; intention; purpose; plan; model; pattern. -- There is scarcely any other word which is subjected to such abusive treatment as is the word idea, in the very general and indiscriminative way in which it is employed, as it is used variously to signify almost any act, state, or content of thought.