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Noun idea has 5 senses


idean. [L. idea, Gr. , fr. to see; akin to E. wit: cf. F. idée. See Wit.].
  •  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.  [1913 Webster]
    "Her sweet idea wandered through his thoughts."  [1913 Webster]
    "Being the right idea of your father
    Both in your form and nobleness of mind.
    "  [1913 Webster]
    "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."  [1913 Webster]
  •  A general notion, or a conception formed by generalization.  [1913 Webster]
    "Alice had not the slightest idea what latitude was."  [1913 Webster]
  •  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.  [1913 Webster]
    "Whatsoever the mind perceives in itself, or as the immediate object of perception, thought, or undersanding, that I call idea."  [1913 Webster]
  •  A belief, option, or doctrine; a characteristic or controlling principle; as, an essential idea; the idea of development.  [1913 Webster]
    "That fellow seems to me to possess but one idea, and that is a wrong one."  [1913 Webster]
    "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!”
    "  [1913 Webster]
  •  A plan or purpose of action; intention; design.  [1913 Webster]
    "I shortly afterwards set off for that capital, with an idea of undertaking while there the translation of the work."  [1913 Webster]
  •  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.  [1913 Webster]
  •  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.  [1913 Webster]
    " “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.  [1913 Webster]
    "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.
    "  [1913 Webster]
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.


idea, n.
1 a conception or plan formed by mental effort (have you any ideas?; had the idea of writing a book).
2 a a mental impression or notion; a concept. b a vague belief or fancy (had an idea you were married; had no idea where you were).
3 an intention, purpose, or essential feature (the idea is to make money).
4 an archetype or pattern as distinguished from its realization in individual cases.
5 Philos. a (in Platonism) an eternally existing pattern of which individual things in any class are imperfect copies. b a concept of pure reason which transcends experience.

get (or have) ideas colloq. be ambitious, rebellious, etc. have no idea colloq.
1 not know at all.
2 be completely incompetent. not one's idea of colloq. not what one regards as (not my idea of a pleasant evening). put ideas into a person's head suggest ambitions etc. he or she would not otherwise have had. that's an idea colloq. that proposal etc. is worth considering. the very idea! colloq. an exclamation of disapproval or disagreement.
idea'd adj. ideaed adj. idealess adj.
Gk idea form, pattern f. stem id- see



abstract thought, act of thought, admonition, advice, advising, advocacy, affective meaning, aim, ambition, animus, apprehension, approach, approximation, arrangement, aspiration, assumption, attack, attitude, awareness, bare suggestion, bearing, belief, blueprint, blueprinting, brainwork, briefing, calculation, cast, caution, caveat, cerebration, charting, climate of opinion, clue, cogitation, coloring, common belief, community sentiment, conceit, concept, conception, conceptualization, conclusion, connotation, consensus gentium, consequence, consideration, construct, consultation, contrivance, conviction, council, counsel, creative thought, dash, denotation, desideration, desideratum, design, desire, determination, device, direction, disposition, doctrine, dream, drift, effect, end, enterprise, envisagement, essence, estimate, estimation, ethos, excogitation, excuse, exhortation, explanation, expostulation, extension, eye, fancy, fantasy, feeling, figuring, fixed purpose, force, foresight, forethought, function, game, general belief, gist, gleam, goal, grammatical meaning, graphing, ground plan, guess, guidance, guidelines, half an idea, hazy idea, headwork, heavy thinking, hint, hortation, hypothesis, ideation, imageless thought, impact, implication, import, impression, inkling, instruction, intellection, intellectual exercise, intellectualization, intendment, intension, intent, intention, intimation, judgment, layout, lexical meaning, lick, lights, lineup, literal meaning, long-range plan, look, mapping, master plan, meaning, mental act, mental image, mental labor, mental process, mentation, mere notion, method, methodology, mind, monition, motive, mystique, nisus, noesis, notion, object, objective, observation, operations research, opinion, organization, outlook, overtone, parley, perception, personal judgment, pertinence, philosophy, picture, pith, plan, planning, planning function, point, point of view, popular belief, position, posture, practical consequence, prearrangement, presumption, pretense, pretext, prevailing belief, principle, procedure, program, program of action, project, proposal, prospectus, public belief, public opinion, purport, purpose, raison d'etre, range of meaning, ratiocination, rational ground, rationale, rationalization, reaction, real meaning, reason, reason for, reason why, reasoning, recommendation, reference, referent, relation, relevance, remonstrance, resolution, resolve, sake, schedule, schema, schematism, schematization, scheme, scheme of arrangement, scintilla, scope, semantic cluster, semantic field, sense, sentiment, setup, shade, shadow, sight, significance, signification, significatum, signifie, sip, smack, smattering, smell, sneaking suspicion, soupcon, span of meaning, spark, spirit, sprinkling, stance, stated cause, straight thinking, strategic plan, strategy, striving, structural meaning, study, substance, suggestion, sum, sum and substance, sup, suspicion, symbolic meaning, system, systematization, tactical plan, tactics, taste, tenet, tenor, the big idea, the big picture, the idea, the picture, the whatfor, the wherefore, the why, theory, thinking, thinking aloud, thinking out, thought, tincture, tinge, totality of associations, touch, trace, transferred meaning, unadorned meaning, underlying reason, understanding, undertone, vague idea, value, view, viewpoint, warning, way, way of thinking, will, working plan




N smallness, littleness, tenuity, paucity, fewness, meanness, insignificance (unimportance), mediocrity, moderation, small quantity, modicum, trace, hint, minimum, vanishing point, material point, atom, particle, molecule, corpuscle, point, speck, dot, mote, jot, iota, ace, minutiae, details, look, thought, idea, soupcon, dab, dight, whit, tittle, shade, shadow, spark, scintilla, gleam, touch, cast, grain, scruple, granule, globule, minim, sup, sip, sop, spice, drop, droplet, sprinkling, dash, morceau, screed, smack, tinge, tincture, inch, patch, scantling, tatter, cantlet, flitter, gobbet, mite, bit, morsel, crumb, seed, fritter, shive, snip, snippet, snick, snack, snatch, slip, scrag, chip, chipping, shiver, sliver, driblet, clipping, paring, shaving, hair, nutshell, thimbleful, spoonful, handful, capful, mouthful, fragment, fraction, drop in the ocean, animalcule, trifle, mere nothing, next to nothing, hardly anything, just enough to swear by, the shadow of a shade, finiteness, finite quantity, small, little, diminutive, minute, fine, inconsiderable, paltry, faint, slender, light, slight, scanty, scant, limited, meager, sparing, few, low, so-so, middling, tolerable, no great shakes, below par, under par, below the mark, at a low ebb, halfway, moderate, modest, tender, subtle, inappreciable, evanescent, infinitesimal, homeopathic, very small, atomic, corpuscular, microscopic, molecular, subatomic, mere, simple, sheer, stark, bare, near run, dull, petty, shallow, stolid, ungifted, unintelligent, to a small extent, on a small scale, a little bit, a wee bit, slightly, imperceptibly, miserably, wretchedly, insufficiently, imperfectly, faintly, passably, pretty well, well enough, partially, in part, in a certain degree, to a certain degree, to a certain extent, comparatively, some, rather in some degree, in some measure, something, somewhat, simply, only, purely, merely, at least, at the least, at most, at the most, ever so little, as little as may be, tant soit peu, in ever so small a degree, thus far, pro tanto, within bounds, in a manner, after a fashion, so to speak, almost, nearly, well-nigh, short of, not quite, all but, near upon, close upon, peu s'en faut, near the mark, within an ace of, within an inch of, on the brink of, scarcely, hardly, barely, only just, no more than, about, thereabouts, somewhere about, nearly, say, be the same, be little more or less, no ways, no way, no wise, not at all, not in the least, not a bit, not a bit of it, not a whit, not a jot, not a shadow, in no wise, in no respect, by no means, by no manner of means, on no account, at no hand, dare pondus idonea fumo, magno conatu magnas nugas, small sands the mountain, moments make the year.


N idea, notion, conception, thought, apprehension, impression, perception, image, eidolon, sentiment, reflection, observation, consideration, abstract idea, archetype, formative notion, guiding conception, organizing conception, image in the mind, regulative principle, view, theory, conceit, fancy, phantasy, point of view, field of view.


N supposition, assumption, assumed position, postulation, condition, presupposition, hypothesis, blue sky hypothesis, postulate, postulatum, theory, thesis, theorem, data, proposition, position, proposal, presumption, divination, conjecture, guess, guesswork, speculation, rough guess, shot, shot in the dark, conjecturality, surmise, suspicion, sneaking suspicion, estimate, approximation (nearness), inkling, suggestion, hint, intimation, notion, impression, bare supposition, vague supposition, loose supposition, loose suggestion, association of ideas, (analogy), metonym, metonymy, simile (metaphor), conceit, idea, thought, original idea, invention (imagination), supposing, given, mooted, postulatory, assumed, supposititious, suppositive, suppositious, gratuitous, speculative, conjectural, hypothetical, theoretical, academic, supposable, presumptive, putative, suppositional, suggestive, allusive, if, if so be, an, on the supposition, ex hypothesi, in the case, in the event of, quasi, as if, provided, perhaps, for aught one knows.

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