Thought is the process of using your mind to consider something. It can also be the product of that process: an idea or just the thing you're thinking about.

Thought can also refer to the organized beliefs of a period, individual, or group. If you're writing an essay about the Reformation, you'll probably want to summarize early Catholic thought regarding free will and predestination. This word can also be used to describe a personal belief or judgment you can't prove or be entirely certain of.

Definitions of thought

n the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about

“the thought never entered my mind”
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arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity
a carefully considered thought about something
concept, conception, construct
an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances
an idea that preoccupies the mind and holds the attention
an incorrect conception
plan, program, programme
a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished
a contrived or fantastic idea
generalisation, generality, generalization
an idea or conclusion having general application
an idea that is suggested
belief, feeling, impression, notion, opinion
a vague idea in which some confidence is placed
an idea evoked by some experience
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
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
the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain
idealisation, idealization
something that exists only as an idea
a fundamental or central idea
an eccentric idea
fixation, obsession
an unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with something or someone
an emotional preoccupation
a topic to which one constantly reverts
germ, seed, source
anything that provides inspiration for later work
a condition that is the inspiration for an activity or situation
a strong creative impulse; divine inspiration
conceptualisation, conceptuality, conceptualization
an elaborated concept
a general inclusive concept
preoccupation with yourself to the exclusion of everything else
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
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
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
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
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
the impression that something is present
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
a traditional theme or motif or literary convention
the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text
implication, import, significance
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
the relation between a word or phrase and the object or idea it refers to
an idea that is implied or suggested
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
something illusory and unattainable
a misconception that is fallacious and not true or valid
linguistic rule, rule
(linguistics) a rule describing (or prescribing) a linguistic practice
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

n a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty

“what are your thoughts on Haiti?”
opinion, persuasion, reckoning, sentiment, view
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a personal view
judgement, judgment, mind
an opinion formed by judging something
opinion or judgment
parti pris, preconceived idea, preconceived notion, preconceived opinion, preconception, prepossession
an opinion formed beforehand without adequate evidence
one of two divergent or mutually exclusive opinions
political sympathies, politics
the opinion you hold with respect to political questions
conclusion, decision, determination
a position or opinion or judgment reached after consideration
Type of:
any cognitive content held as true

n the process of using your mind to consider something carefully

“she paused for thought
cerebration, intellection, mentation, thinking, thought process
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free association
a thought process in which ideas (words or images) suggest other ideas in a sequence
construction, mental synthesis
the creation of a construct; the process of combining ideas into a congruous object of thought
abstract thought, logical thinking, reasoning
thinking that is coherent and logical
line of thought
a particular way of thinking that is characteristic of some individual or group
thread, train of thought
the connections that link the various parts of an event or argument together
obscure or irrational thought
the process of forming and relating ideas
the process of giving careful thought to something
thinking something out with care in order to achieve complete understanding of it
thought that makes something comprehensible
planning, preparation, provision
the cognitive process of thinking about what you will do in the event of something happening
problem solving
the thought processes involved in solving a problem
convergent thinking
thinking that brings together information focussed on solving a problem (especially solving problems that have a single correct solution)
divergent thinking, out-of-the-box thinking
thinking that moves away in diverging directions so as to involve a variety of aspects and which sometimes lead to novel ideas and solutions; associated with creativity
interpretation, interpreting, rendering, rendition
an explanation of something that is not immediately obvious
crystallisation, crystallization
a mental synthesis that becomes fixed or concrete by a process resembling crystal formation
the conception and development of an idea or plan
analysis, analytic thinking
the abstract separation of a whole into its constituent parts in order to study the parts and their relations
argument, argumentation, line, line of reasoning, logical argument
a course of reasoning aimed at demonstrating a truth or falsehood; the methodical process of logical reasoning
reasoning that involves the formation of conclusions from incomplete evidence
deduction, deductive reasoning, synthesis
reasoning from the general to the particular (or from cause to effect)
illation, inference
the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation
anticipation, prediction, prevision
the act of predicting (as by reasoning about the future)
logical and methodical reasoning
reasoning backward, regress
the reasoning involved when you assume the conclusion is true and reason backward to the evidence
synthesis, synthetic thinking
the combination of ideas into a complex whole
advisement, deliberation, weighing
careful consideration
a systematic consideration
contemplation, musing, reflection, reflexion, rumination, thoughtfulness
a calm, lengthy, intent consideration
principle, rationale
(law) an explanation of the fundamental reasons (especially an explanation of the working of some device in terms of laws of nature)
something crucial for explaining
rationalisation, rationalization
the cognitive process of making something seem consistent with or based on reason
agreement, arrangement
the thing arranged or agreed to
the planning that is disrupted when someone `upsets the applecart'
malice aforethought, mens rea
(law) criminal intent; the thoughts and intentions behind a wrongful act (including knowledge that the act is illegal); often at issue in murder trials
calculation, deliberation
planning something carefully and intentionally
forethought, premeditation
planning or plotting in advance of acting
enquiry, inquiry, research
a search for knowledge
calculation, computation, figuring, reckoning
problem solving that involves numbers or quantities
a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena
Type of:
higher cognitive process
cognitive processes that presuppose the availability of knowledge and put it to use

n the organized beliefs of a period or group or individual

“19th century thought
“Darwinian thought
the prevailing current of thought
Type of:
any cognitive content held as true

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