English

Definition of imagine verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    imagine

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ɪˈmædʒɪn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪˈmædʒɪn//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they imagine
    BrE BrE//ɪˈmædʒɪn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪˈmædʒɪn//
     
    he / she / it imagines
    BrE BrE//ɪˈmædʒɪnz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪˈmædʒɪnz//
     
    past simple imagined
    BrE BrE//ɪˈmædʒɪnd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪˈmædʒɪnd//
     
    past participle imagined
    BrE BrE//ɪˈmædʒɪnd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪˈmædʒɪnd//
     
    -ing form imagining
    BrE BrE//ɪˈmædʒɪnɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪˈmædʒɪnɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1  [transitive, intransitive] to form a picture in your mind of what something might be like imagine something The house was just as she had imagined it. I can't imagine life without the children now. imagine (that)… Close your eyes and imagine (that) you are in a forest. imagine what, how, etc… Can you imagine what it must be like to lose your job after 20 years? imagine doing something She imagined walking into the office and handing in her resignation. Imagine earning that much money! imagine somebody/something doing something I can just imagine him saying that! imagine somebody/something to be/do something I had imagined her to be older than that. imagine (somebody + adj./noun) I can imagine him really angry. (informal) ‘He was furious.’ ‘I can imagine.’ Synonymsimaginethink see envisage envisionThese words all mean to form an idea in your mind of what somebody/​something might be like.imagine to form an idea in your mind of what somebody/​something might be like:The house was just as she had imagined it.think to imagine something that might happen or might have happened:We couldn’t think where you’d gone. Just think—this time tomorrow we’ll be lying on a beach.see to consider something as a future possibility; to imagine somebody as something:I can’t see her changing her mind. His colleagues see him as a future director.envisage (especially British English) to imagine what will happen in the future:I don’t envisage working with him again. The usual word for this in American English is envision (see below).envision to imagine what a situation will be like in the future, especially a situation that you intend to work towards:They envision an equal society, free from poverty and disease. Envision is used especially in business and political contexts. In North American English it is also used as another form of the word envisage:I don’t envision working with him again.Patterns to imagine/​see/​envisage/​envision somebody/​something as something to imagine/​see/​envisage/​envision (somebody) doing something to imagine/​think/​see/​envisage/​envision who/​what/​how… to imagine/​think/​envisage/​envision that… More Like This Verbs usually followed by -ing forms avoid, consider, delay, deny, enjoy, escape, finish, give up, imagine, involve, mention, mind, miss, postpone, practise, resist, risk, suggestSee worksheet.
  2. 2  [transitive] to believe something that is not true imagine (that)… He’s always imagining (that) we’re talking about him behind his back. imagine something There's nobody there. You're imagining things.
  3. 3  [intransitive, transitive] to think that something is probably true synonym suppose, assume Express YourselfSpeculatingIn some exams, you have to talk about what you can see in a picture and speculate about the situation or a wider issue prompted by the picture. These are ways of saying what you think might be the case: I think it's likely that these people know each other. I imagine she's his wife. They might/​may/​could be related.(British English or formal, North American English) I would think/​imagine/​guess they've been waiting for some time.(British English) I guess that the car has broken down.(North American English) I think this has probably happened before. It looks to me as though the woman is very angry. Perhaps/​Probably/​Possibly/​It may be that/​Maybe there has been an accident.(British English or formal, North American English) ‘Can we still buy tickets for the concert?’ ‘I imagine so.’ imagine (that)… I don’t imagine (that) they’ll refuse.
  4. Word Origin Middle English: from Old French imaginer, from Latin imaginare ‘form an image of, represent’ and imaginari ‘picture to oneself’, both from imago, imagin- ‘image’.Extra examples He hardly dared to imagine what else was going to be divulged. He loved to imagine himself as the hero. He was always keen to avenge insults, real or imagined. I always imagined him following in his father’s footsteps. I can well imagine the atmosphere at home at this moment. I can’t actually imagine her falling for that trick. I can’t even begin to imagine the horrors that they have been through. I could almost imagine you were jealous. I could clearly imagine the scene in the office. I could hardly imagine living in such a remote and desolate spot. I couldn’t fully imagine what it could be. I had fondly imagined that riding a mule would be easy. I started to imagine what he might say. It is difficult to imagine Blackpool without its famous Tower. It is difficult to imagine a world without money. Let us imagine what really might have happened. She could just imagine her mother’s look of horror. She had so vividly imagined it time and time again. She knew she was simply imagining things. The artist is free to imagine anything she pleases. The sight was disturbing as you can quite imagine. There’s more at stake here than you can possibly imagine. When I think about this story I can almost imagine the look on his face. You don’t seriously imagine I’ll agree to that? the best guitarist you could possibly imagine ‘He was furious.’ ‘I can imagine!’ ‘Will we still be allowed in?’ ‘I imagine so.’ Can you imagine what it might be like to lose your job after 20 years? He’s always imagining that we’re talking about him behind his back. I can’t imagine life without the children now. I don’t imagine he’ll get here now, do you? I had imagined her to be older than me. I’d like to imagine that she’s safe and happy somewhere. If I’m late home my mother always imagines the worst. She had imagined that she’d get a warm welcome. She imagined walking onto the stage to huge applause. You shouldn’t imagine that he’s anything but a ruthless man.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: imagine