Definition of imaginary in English:


Syllabification: im·ag·i·nar·y
Pronunciation: /iˈmajəˌnerē


  • 2 Mathematics (Of a number or quantity) expressed in terms of the square root of a negative number (usually the square root of 1, represented by i or j). See also complex.
    More example sentences
    • What was most perplexing was that in using these subtle and imaginary numbers it was possible to solve cubic equations.
    • The idea is based on an ingenious use of the properties of imaginary numbers.
    • It also only worked, he noted, when certain imaginary parts of two complex numbers cancelled out.



Pronunciation: /iˌmajəˈne(ə)rəlē/
More example sentences
  • Symbolically excluded, imaginarily plagued by the fury of vanishment, yet omnipresent, disgust marks the position of a tabooed reality: one that never stops returning to the field of the aesthetic in order once again to be ejected.
  • For him, of course, a crucial analytical sleight of words is needed to disentangle this collapse of the symbolic ego ideal and the ideal ego fixed on the imaginarily loaded object.
  • Her sapphire gaze traveled across the room as if watching a film of her own past imaginarily.


late Middle English: from Latin imaginarius, from imago, imagin- 'image'.


Imaginary means ‘product of the imagination, unreal.’ Imaginative means ‘showing imagination, original.’ Science fiction, for example, deals with imaginary people, places, and events; how imaginative it is depends on the writer’s ability.

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