Word definition: imagination

Defiintion of imagination:

[n] the formation of a mental image of something that is not perceived as real and is not present to the senses; "popular imagination created a world of demons"; "imagination reveals what the world could be"
[n] the ability to deal resourcefully with unusual problems; "a man of resource"
[n] the ability to form mental images of things or events; "he could still hear her in his imagination"

Synonyms of imagination:

imagery, imaginativeness, imaging, mental imagery, resource, resourcefulness, vision

Antonyms of imagination:


See Also:

armory, armoury, chimaera, chimera, cleverness, creativeness, creativity, dream, dreaming, envisioning, evocation, fancy, fantasy, ingeniousness, ingenuity, inventiveness, inventory, make-believe, mind's eye, phantasy, picturing, pretence, pretense, representational process

Webster Dictionary (1913) for imagination:

\Im*ag`i*na"tion\, n. [OE. imaginacionum, F.
imagination, fr. L. imaginatio. See {Imagine}.]
1. The imagine-making power of the mind; the power to create
   or reproduce ideally an object of sense previously
   perceived; the power to call up mental imagines.

         Our simple apprehension of corporeal objects, if
         present, is sense; if absent, is imagination.
                                               --Glanvill.

         Imagination is of three kinds: joined with belief of
         that which is to come; joined with memory of that
         which is past; and of things present, or as if they
         were present.                         --Bacon.

2. The representative power; the power to reconstruct or
   recombine the materials furnished by direct apprehension;
   the complex faculty usually termed the plastic or creative
   power; the fancy.

         The imagination of common language -- the productive
         imagination of philosophers -- is nothing but the
         representative process plus the process to which I
         would give the name of the ``comparative.'' --Sir W.
                                               Hamilton.

         The power of the mind to decompose its conceptions,
         and to recombine the elements of them at its
         pleasure, is called its faculty of imagination. --I.
                                               Taylor.

         The business of conception is to present us with an
         exact transcript of what we have felt or perceived.
         But we have moreover a power of modifying our
         conceptions, by combining the parts of different
         ones together, so as to form new wholes of our
         creation. I shall employ the word imagination to
         express this power.                   --Stewart.

3. The power to recombine the materials furnished by
   experience or memory, for the accomplishment of an
   elevated purpose; the power of conceiving and expressing
   the ideal.

         The lunatic, the lover, and the poet Are of
         imagination all compact . . . The poet's eye, in a
         fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to
         earth, from earth to heaven, And as imagination
         bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's
         pen Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
         A local habitation and a name.        --Shak.

4. A mental image formed by the action of the imagination as
   a faculty; a conception; a notion. --Shak.

Syn: Conception; idea; conceit; fancy; device; origination;
     invention; scheme; design; purpose; contrivance.

Usage: {Imagination}, {Fancy}. These words have, to a great
       extent, been interchanged by our best writers, and
       considered as strictly synonymous. A distinction,
       however, is now made between them which more fully
       exhibits their nature. Properly speaking, they are
       different exercises of the same general power -- the
       plastic or creative faculty. Imagination consists in
       taking parts of our conceptions and combining them
       into new forms and images more select, more striking,
       more delightful, more terrible, etc., than those of
       ordinary nature. It is the higher exercise of the two.
       It creates by laws more closely connected with the
       reason; it has strong emotion as its actuating and
       formative cause; it aims at results of a definite and
       weighty character. Milton's fiery lake, the debates of
       his Pandemonium, the exquisite scenes of his Paradise,
       are all products of the imagination. Fancy moves on a
       lighter wing; it is governed by laws of association
       which are more remote, and sometimes arbitrary or
       capricious. Hence the term fanciful, which exhibits
       fancy in its wilder flights. It has for its actuating
       spirit feelings of a lively, gay, and versatile
       character; it seeks to please by unexpected
       combinations of thought, startling contrasts, flashes
       of brilliant imagery, etc. Pope's Rape of the Lock is
       an exhibition of fancy which has scarcely its equal in
       the literature of any country. -- ``This, for
       instance, Wordsworth did in respect of the words
       `imagination' and `fancy.' Before he wrote, it was, I
       suppose, obscurely felt by most that in `imagination'
       there was more of the earnest, in `fancy' of the play
       of the spirit; that the first was a loftier faculty
       and gift than the second; yet for all this words were
       continually, and not without loss, confounded. He
       first, in the preface to his Lyrical Ballads, rendered
       it henceforth impossible that any one, who had read
       and mastered what he has written on the two words,
       should remain unconscious any longer of the important
       difference between them.'' --Trench.

             The same power, which we should call fancy if
             employed on a production of a light nature,
             would be dignified with the title of imagination
             if shown on a grander scale.      --C. J. Smith.