idea

When you suddenly know what to do and a cartoon light bulb appears above your head, you've probably just had an idea. After burning the roast and dropping the mashed potatoes, ordering pizza seemed like your best idea all night.

Idea goes all the way back to idein in Greek, meaning “to see.” When someone says “Picture this!” they want to give you an idea. When you try to imagine something, idea can also mean a rough outline or a general sense: "This drawing I've made doesn't show every detail of my time machine, but it will give you some idea of how it works."

Definitions of idea
  1. noun
    the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about
    “it was not a good idea
    synonyms: thought
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    types:
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    inspiration
    arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity
    cogitation
    a carefully considered thought about something
    concept, conception, construct
    an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances
    preoccupation
    an idea that preoccupies the mind and holds the attention
    misconception
    an incorrect conception
    plan, program, programme
    a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished
    figment
    a contrived or fantastic idea
    generalisation, generality, generalization
    an idea or conclusion having general application
    suggestion
    an idea that is suggested
    belief, feeling, impression, notion, opinion
    a vague idea in which some confidence is placed
    reaction
    an idea evoked by some experience
    theorem
    an idea accepted as a demonstrable truth
    notion, whim, whimsey, whimsy
    an odd or fanciful or capricious idea
    meaning, substance
    the idea that is intended
    burden
    the central idea that is expanded in a document or discourse
    motif, theme
    a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary or artistic work
    ideal
    the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain
    idealisation, idealization
    something that exists only as an idea
    keynote
    a fundamental or central idea
    kink
    an eccentric idea
    fixation, obsession
    an unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with something or someone
    hang-up
    an emotional preoccupation
    hobbyhorse
    a topic to which one constantly reverts
    germ, seed, source
    anything that provides inspiration for later work
    mother
    a condition that is the inspiration for an activity or situation
    afflatus
    a strong creative impulse; divine inspiration
    conceptualisation, conceptuality, conceptualization
    an elaborated concept
    notion
    a general inclusive concept
    self-absorption
    preoccupation with yourself to the exclusion of everything else
    category
    a general concept that marks divisions or coordinations in a conceptual scheme
    regulation, rule
    a principle or condition that customarily governs behavior
    attribute, dimension, property
    a construct whereby objects or individuals can be distinguished
    abstract, abstraction
    a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
    quantity
    the concept that something has a magnitude and can be represented in mathematical expressions by a constant or a variable
    division, part, section
    one of the portions into which something is regarded as divided and which together constitute a whole
    whole
    all of something including all its component elements or parts
    law, natural law
    a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society
    law, law of nature
    a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature
    lexicalized concept
    a concept that is expressed by a word (in some particular language)
    hypothesis, possibility, theory
    a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena
    fact
    a concept whose truth can be proved
    audit program, audit programme
    a listing of audit procedures to be performed in completing an audit
    outline, schema, scheme
    a schematic or preliminary plan
    fallacy, false belief
    a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning
    erroneous belief, error
    a misconception resulting from incorrect information
    self-deceit, self-deception
    a misconception that is favorable to the person who holds it
    misapprehension, mistake, misunderstanding
    an understanding of something that is not correct
    fancy, fantasy, illusion, phantasy
    something many people believe that is false
    delusion, hallucination
    a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea
    master plan
    a long-term outline of a project or government function
    blueprint, design, pattern
    something intended as a guide for making something else
    plan of action
    a plan for actively doing something
    regime, regimen
    (medicine) a systematic plan for therapy (often including diet)
    project, projection
    a planned undertaking
    agenda, docket, schedule
    a temporally organized plan for matters to be attended to
    pension account, pension plan, retirement account, retirement plan, retirement program, retirement savings account, retirement savings plan
    a plan for setting aside money to be spent after retirement
    employee savings plan
    a plan that allows employees to contribute to an investment pool managed the employer
    guideline, road map
    a detailed plan or explanation to guide you in setting standards or determining a course of action
    stock purchase plan
    an organized plan for employees of a company to buy shares of its stock
    principle, rule, tenet
    a basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct
    glimmer, glimmering, inkling, intimation
    a slight suggestion or vague understanding
    posthypnotic suggestion
    a suggestion that is made to a person who is hypnotized that specifies an action he will perform (usually in response to a cue) after he has awakened
    presence
    the impression that something is present
    effect
    an impression (especially one that is artificial or contrived)
    first blush
    at the first glimpse or impression
    Bayes' theorem
    (statistics) a theorem describing how the conditional probability of a set of possible causes for a given observed event can be computed from knowledge of the probability of each cause and the conditional probability of the outcome of each cause
    hunch, intuition, suspicion
    an impression that something might be the case
    topos
    a traditional theme or motif or literary convention
    semantics
    the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text
    implication, import, significance, subtext
    a meaning that is not expressly stated but can be inferred
    strain, tenor
    the general meaning or substance of an utterance
    undercurrent, undertone
    a subdued emotional quality underlying an utterance; implicit meaning
    denotation, extension, reference
    the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression; the class of objects that an expression refers to
    reference
    the relation between a word or phrase and the object or idea it refers to
    connotation
    an idea that is implied or suggested
    value
    an ideal accepted by some individual or group
    beau ideal, idol, paragon, perfection
    an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept
    criterion, standard
    the ideal in terms of which something can be judged
    example, exemplar, good example, model
    something to be imitated
    ego ideal
    (psychoanalysis) the part of the ego that contains an ideal of personal excellence toward which a person strives
    mirage
    something illusory and unattainable
    unsoundness
    a misconception that is fallacious and not true or valid
    linguistic rule, rule
    (linguistics) a rule describing (or prescribing) a linguistic practice
    budget
    a summary of intended expenditures along with proposals for how to meet them
    type of:
    cognitive content, content, mental object
    the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned
  2. noun
    a personal view
    “he has an idea that we don't like him”
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    type of:
    opinion, persuasion, reckoning, sentiment, thought, view
    a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty
  3. noun
    your intention; what you intend to do
    “the idea of the game is to capture all the pieces”
    synonyms: mind
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    type of:
    aim, design, intent, intention, mission, purpose
    an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions
  4. noun
    an approximate calculation of quantity or degree or worth
    “a rough idea how long it would take”
    synonyms: approximation, estimate, estimation
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    types:
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    scalage
    estimation of the amount of lumber in a log
    credit, credit rating
    an estimate, based on previous dealings, of a person's or an organization's ability to fulfill their financial commitments
    dead reckoning, guess, guessing, guesswork, shot
    an estimate based on little or no information
    guesstimate, guestimate
    an estimate that combines reasoning with guessing
    overestimate, overestimation, overrating, overreckoning
    a calculation that results in an estimate that is too high
    underestimate, underestimation, underrating, underreckoning
    an estimation that is too low; an estimate that is less than the true or actual value
    type of:
    calculation, computation, figuring, reckoning
    problem solving that involves numbers or quantities
  5. noun
    (music) melodic subject of a musical composition
    “the accompanist picked up the idea and elaborated it”
    synonyms: melodic theme, musical theme, theme
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    types:
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    motif, motive
    a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music
    statement
    (music) the presentation of a musical theme
    variation
    a repetition of a musical theme in which it is modified or embellished
    obbligato, obligato
    a persistent but subordinate motif
    inversion
    (counterpoint) a variation of a melody or part in which ascending intervals are replaced by descending intervals and vice versa
    augmentation
    the statement of a theme in notes of greater duration (usually twice the length of the original)
    diminution
    the statement of a theme in notes of lesser duration (usually half the length of the original)
    partita
    one of the variations contained in a partita
    type of:
    air, line, melodic line, melodic phrase, melody, strain, tune
    a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence
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