Did you know?

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

idea

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

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.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun American English pronunciation: idea /aɪˈdiə/ 
Word Forms
Close
singularidea
pluralideas
 
  1. 1
    [countable] a thought that you have about how to do something or how to deal with something

    What a brilliant idea!

    idea for:

    an idea for a new TV show

    have an idea:

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

    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 raise 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 came to 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.

phrases

 

Word of the Day

astronomer

someone who studies the stars and planets using scientific equipment including telescopes

Blog

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