English

Definition of imagination noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    imagination

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ɪˌmædʒɪˈneɪʃn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪˌmædʒɪˈneɪʃn//
     
     
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  1. 1  [uncountable, countable] the ability to create pictures in your mind; the part of your mind that does this a vivid/fertile imagination He's got no imagination. It doesn't take much imagination to guess what she meant. I won't tell you his reaction—I'll leave that to your imagination. Don't let your imagination run away with you (= don't use too much imagination). The new policies appear to have caught the imagination of the public (= they find them interesting and exciting). Nobody hates you—it's all in your imagination. (informal) Use your imagination! (= used to tell somebody that they will have to guess the answer to the question they have asked you, usually because it is obvious or embarrassing) His stories really stretch children’s imaginations.
  2. 2  [uncountable] something that you have imagined rather than something that exists She was no longer able to distinguish between imagination and reality. Is it my imagination or have you lost a lot of weight?
  3. 3  [uncountable] the ability to have new and exciting ideas His writing lacks imagination. With a little imagination, you could turn this place into a palace. We are looking for someone with ingenuity and imagination.
  4. Word Origin Middle English: via Old French from Latin imaginatio(n-), from the verb imaginari ‘picture to oneself’, from imago, imagin- ‘image’.Extra examples As for their reaction, I’ll leave that to your imagination! Dinosaurs caught and have held the imagination of us all because they seem like dragons. He was totally without imagination. His imagination conjured up a vision of the normal family life he had never had. I don’t have a picture of this, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. I was no good at art—I have a very poor visual imagination. Is it only my imagination or have you lost weight? It does not take great imagination to guess what happened next. It requires a strong effort of historical imagination to understand the Roman attitude to death. It’s just a product of your fevered imagination! Nobody hates you—it’s all in your imagination! Not by any stretch of the imagination could she be called beautiful. The figure vanished as silently as if it had simply been a figment of her imagination. The film haunted the imaginations of viewers. The scale of the disaster defied imagination. Today’s music lacks imagination. Victorian writers fired the popular imagination with their tales of adventure. Was it only her imagination playing tricks on her? With a little imagination you can create a delicious meal from yesterday’s leftovers. a movie of such limited imagination a popular hero who inspired the collective imagination an education that stimulates the moral imagination misery that is beyond most people’s imagination the Pyramids retain a remarkable hold on the human imagination. the powers of the human imagination Don’t let your imagination run away with you He’s got no imagination. His stories really stretch children’s imaginations. I won’t tell you his reaction—I’ll leave that to your imagination She has a vivid imagination. The new policies appear to have caught the imagination of the public.Idioms
    a figment of somebody’s imagination
     
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    something that somebody has imagined and that does not really exist Are you telling me that these symptoms are just a figment of my imagination?
    leave nothing/little to the imagination
     
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    (of clothes) to allow more of somebody’s body to be seen than usual Her tight-fitting dress left nothing to the imagination.
    not by any stretch of the imagination, by no stretch of the imagination
     
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    used to say strongly that something is not true, even if you try to imagine or believe it She could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called beautiful. By no stretch of the imagination could the trip be described as relaxing.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: imagination