Definition of imaginary in English:

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Pronunciation: /iˈmajəˌnerē/


1Existing only in the imagination: Chris had imaginary conversations with her
More example sentences
  • How they coped with this transfer of power is a vital part of these imaginary conversations.
  • To escape reality, I invented an imaginary world and began writing poetry.
  • I bowed to an imaginary crowd and pretended to thank my parents and all who believed in me.
unreal, nonexistent, fictional, fictitious, pretend, make-believe, mythical, mythological, fabulous, fanciful, storybook, fantastic;
made-up, dreamed-up, invented, concocted, fancied;
illusory, illusive, a figment of one's imagination
archaic visionary
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.
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.


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.



Pronunciation: /iˌmajəˈne(ə)rəlē/
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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: im·ag·i·nar·y

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