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idea - definition and synonyms

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noun     idea pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] a thought that you have about how to do something or how to deal with something

    What a brilliant idea!

    have an idea:

    Then I had an idea: we could stay with Mark.

    idea for:

    an idea for a new TV show

    get an idea for something:

    Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

    get the idea to do something:

    How did you get the idea to remove the window from the outside?

    have/get the idea of doing something:

    Then she got the idea of sending the poems to a publisher.

    1. a.
      [often plural] an opinion or belief
      idea about/on something:

      I don’t agree with his ideas about education.

      Her ideas on the subject were not ones I shared.

      have an idea:

      She has some pretty strange ideas about how to bring up children.

    2. b.
      how you imagine something to be
      idea of:

      We didn’t have a clear idea of what to expect from the training course.

      Standing in the rain for two hours was not my idea of fun.

      be my idea of heaven/paradise/bliss (=something that is extremely enjoyable):

      Lying by the pool with a good book is my idea of heaven.

  2. 2
    [singular/uncountable] information or knowledge that you have about something
    idea of:

    I had only a basic idea of how the machine worked.

    have no idea (=not know at all):

    They had no idea what time they were supposed to arrive.

    not have the slightest/faintest/foggiest/remotest idea (=not know at all):

    He didn’t have the slightest idea of how she really felt.

  3. 3
    [countable/uncountable] a purpose or intention
    idea behind/of:

    What’s the idea behind these proposals?

    the idea is to do something:

    The idea is to make more people rich.

    have other ideas (=have a different intention):

    My parents wanted me to be a doctor, but I had other ideas.

    with the idea of doing something:

    He had arrived at the school with the idea of starting a band.

  4. 4
    [countable] a principle

    The policy is based on the idea that some industries need to be protected from market forces.

    idea of:

    I’m a great believer in the idea of democracy.

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