noun Etymology: Middle English, from Latin, from Greek, from idein to see — more at wit Date: 14th century 1. a. a transcendent entity that is a real pattern of which existing things are imperfect representations b. a standard of perfection ; ideal c. a plan for action ; design 2. archaic a visible representation of a conception ; a replica of a pattern 3. a. obsolete an image recalled by memory b. an indefinite or unformed conception c. an entity (as a thought, concept, sensation, or image) actually or potentially present to consciousness 4. a formulated thought or opinion 5. whatever is known or supposed about something <
a child's idea of time
6. the central meaning or chief end of a particular action or situation 7. Christian Science an image in Mind • idealess adjective Synonyms: idea, concept, conception, thought, notion, impression mean what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan). idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something assumed or vaguely sensed <
innovative ideas
my idea of paradise
. concept may apply to the idea formed by consideration of instances of a species or genus or, more broadly, to any idea of what a thing ought to be <
a society with no concept of private property
. conception is often interchangeable with concept; it may stress the process of imagining or formulating rather than the result <
our changing conception of what constitutes art
. thought is likely to suggest the result of reflecting, reasoning, or meditating rather than of imagining <
commit your thoughts to paper
. notion suggests an idea not much resolved by analysis or reflection and may suggest the capricious or accidental <
you have the oddest notions
. impression applies to an idea or notion resulting immediately from some stimulation of the senses <
the first impression is of soaring height

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

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