Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

imagination - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun imagination pronunciation in British English /ɪˌmædʒɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the ability to think of clever and original ideas, possibilities, or solutions
    have the imagination to do something:

    They didn’t have the imagination to deal with such complex problems.

    use your imagination:

    Try to use your imagination when planning main meals.

    lack of imagination:

    The speaker’s visual aids showed a remarkable lack of imagination.

    1. a.
      the ability to form a picture, story, or idea in your mind
      vivid/fertile/overactive imagination (=a strong imagination):

      a child with a vivid imagination

    2. b.
      the ability to think, feel, or believe something that is not real or true

      Was he scared, or was it just my imagination?

      The problem was all in his imagination.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] a feeling of interest and excitement about something

    Part of my job is to try to stimulate the student’s imagination.

    catch someone’s imagination:

    Their policies have really caught the public’s imagination.


sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play