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idea

Line breaks: idea
Pronunciation: /ʌɪˈdɪə
 
/

Definition of idea in English:

noun

1A thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action: recently, the idea of linking pay to performance has caught on it’s a good idea to do some research before you go
More example sentences
  • The Trust is also on the look out for new members to put forward suggestions and ideas for future projects.
  • None of this is to suggest that the driver retraining course is a bad idea or a soft option.
  • Many of the audience have pledged to do far more than just one of the ideas suggested in the programme.
Synonyms
1.1 [in singular] A mental impression: our menu list will give you some idea of how interesting a low-fat diet can be
More example sentences
  • He probably had the best idea of what was going on of anyone in this room, besides me, that is.
  • Women probably have a better idea of the male world and male values than men do of women's.
  • Many of us perhaps have little idea what it must be like to be in the depths of despair.
Synonyms
1.2An opinion or belief: nineteenth-century ideas about drinking
More example sentences
  • No other institution enjoys such sweeping powers to suppress the expression of opinions and ideas.
  • Instead we must turn to what is intelligible: the values, beliefs and ideas revealed by art.
  • In my opinion, these ideas and ideals are slipping fast, and we need to fight for them.
Synonyms
thought, theory, view, viewpoint, opinion, feeling, outlook, belief, judgement, conclusion
2 (the idea) The aim or purpose: I took a job with the idea of getting some money together
More example sentences
  • It involves listening to the other side, not with the idea of debate but for the purpose of learning.
  • Perhaps the idea of us meeting up again was not the purpose of our encounter.
  • Allan has other ideas, of course, and a bid for one or other of his rivals now looks certain.
Synonyms
purpose, point, aim, object, objective, goal, intention, end, end in view, design, reason, use, utility, sense, motive;
value, advantage
3 Philosophy (In Platonic thought) an eternally existing pattern of which individual things in any class are imperfect copies.
Example sentences
  • For example, the "Form" or "Idea" of a horse is intelligible, abstract, and applies to all horses.
  • The idea "cat" is simply pure "catness" which exists and moves about the world of Ideas.
3.1(In Kantian thought) a concept of pure reason, not empirically based in experience.
Example sentences
  • In contrast, Kant calls the concepts of pure reason 'transcendental ideas.'
  • Kant nonetheless takes the ideas of God, the soul, and the world to have a valid philosophical use as “regulative,” i.e., for guiding the direction of inquiry to be all the more encompassing in scope.

Origin

late Middle English (in sense 3): via Latin from Greek idea 'form, pattern', from the base of idein 'to see'.

Phrases

get (or give someone) ideas

1
informal Become (or make someone) ambitious, conceited, or tempted to do something: I don’t want you getting any ideas about me just because we’re thrown together like this
More example sentences
  • Media violence just adds to the problem and gives them ideas about how to express their anger.
  • In fact, this line of argument should stop here, in case it gives them ideas.
  • I don't want to give them ideas, but I'm looking forward to the derby.

have (got) no idea

2
informal Not know at all: she had no idea where she was going
More example sentences
  • Where that idea came from she had no idea but then, she always was a bit of a dreamer.
  • All this time, Marlow was becoming fascinated with the idea of Kurtz - having no idea what to expect, he still felt a certain loyalty to the man.
  • Perhaps one of the most notable changes was this, my foray into the blogosphere, something I began in the belief that I likely wouldn't continue for long and having no idea of the friends I would make all over the world.

not someone's idea of

3
informal Not what someone regards as typical of: it’s not my idea of a happy ending
More example sentences
  • Maybe I'm not your idea of what a Republican should be, but then again, you're not my idea of what a decent human being should be.
  • I am sure you are absolutely right about that, but your technique for cross-examining witnesses in the family court is not my idea of how it should be done.
  • That is not my idea of what constitutes an affordable afternoon.

put ideas into someone's head

4
Suggest aspirations that a person would not otherwise have had.
Example sentences
  • This morning, I read several more chapters of Black Fiddle which put ideas into my head.
  • You shouldn't say such things to the children, putting ideas into their head!
  • This would happen if God were actively putting ideas into my head that, prima facie and in all cases, seemed to have some other source.

that's an idea

5
informal That suggestion or proposal is worth considering.
Example sentences
  • Hey, that's an idea - an extension that strips all the images from Xeni's posts.
  • Now that's an idea - I'll email NASA straight away!
  • The insight that you could design small, medium, and large cups so that they all use the same size lid - that's an idea.

that's the idea

6
informal Used to confirm that someone has understood something or they are doing something correctly: ‘A sort of bodyguard?’ ‘That’s the idea.’
More example sentences
  • You'll try something, he'll say, ‘Yes, that's the idea, but maybe I want your arms to go up.’
  • Well, that's the idea, but so far it hasn't worked out that way for The Donnas.
  • Yep, that's the idea, he is searching for the myth that guides his life.

the very idea!

7
informal An exclamation of disapproval or disagreement.
Example sentences
  • She was subtly moving the debate on, from jokey repartee (the very idea!) to smiling yet intransigent persistence.
  • The very idea! What an outrage!

Definition of idea in:

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