From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishideai‧dea /aɪˈdɪə/ ●●● S1 W1 noun 1 plan/suggestion [countable]IDEA a plan or suggestion for a possible course of action, especially one that you think of suddenly You should talk to Ken - he’s always full of good ideas. I knew it was a bad idea to leave him on his own. It was my wife’s idea to move house.idea for The idea for the book came from an old war movie.the idea of doing something I had the idea of asking Katie for help.Don’t say ‘the idea to do something’. Say the idea of doing something. However, you can say it is a good idea to do something and it was someone’s idea to do something.2 knowledge [countable, uncountable]UNDERSTAND a general understanding of something, based on some knowledge about it Could you give me an idea of how bad his injuries are? You must have some idea (=have at least a little knowledge) of what happened to the money. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it right now – you’ll get the idea (=begin to understand or be able to do something).have no idea/not have any idea She doesn’t have any idea where they’ve gone.a general/rough idea (=a not very exact idea) Can you give me a rough idea of how much the repairs will cost?not have the faintest/slightest/foggiest idea spoken I don’t have the faintest idea what to get Rachel for her birthday.3 aim/intention [countable, uncountable]PURPOSE the aim, intention, or purpose of doing something The idea is to teach children to save money.idea of/behind The idea behind the outing is to encourage employees to get to know each other. They wanted Mike to go to law school, but he had other ideas (=had different plans).4 how you imagine something to be [countable, uncountable]IMAGINE an image in your mind of what something is like or should be likeidea of Chefs differ in their idea of what makes a good dessert. I only have a vague idea of the kind of work I’ll be doing. It helps if you have a clear idea of what you want.not my idea of something Chocolate milk and a piece of cake is not my idea of dinner. The very idea of kissing him made her feel physically sick.5 belief/opinion [countable usually plural]BELIEVE someone’s opinion or belief about somethingidea about She had some rather unusual ideas about raising children.where did you get that idea? (=used to say that what someone thinks is completely wrong) No, I’m not seeing Jane. Where did you get that idea? 6 principle [countable]BELIEVE a principle or belief about how something is or should beidea of The whole idea of democracy was something strange and new to most people.idea that It’s based on the idea that all people are created equal.7 have an idea (that)8 get the wrong idea9 have the right idea10 that’s/there’s an idea11 that’s the idea12 bright idea13 give somebody ideas/put ideas into somebody’s head14 is it somebody’s idea of a joke?15 what’s the big idea?16 you have no idea (how/what etc)17 the idea! buck your ideas up at buck upCOLLOCATIONSverbshave an ideaI’ve had an idea. Why don’t we walk into town?get an ideaShe got the idea from an article in a magazine.give somebody an ideaWhat gave you the idea for the book?come up with an idea (=think of an idea)He’s always coming up with interesting ideas.hit on an idea informal (=suddenly think of an idea)Then we hit on the idea of renting a cottage. toy with an idea informal (=think about using an idea, but not very seriously)I’m toying with the idea of going back to college.brainstorm ideas (=get a group of people to all try and think of ideas)We had a meeting to brainstorm ideas for the new advertising campaign.share/exchange ideas (=tell someone else your ideas, and learn their ideas)an opportunity for local business people to share ideasan idea comes to somebody (=someone suddenly thinks of an idea)The idea came to me while I was having a bath.adjectivesa good/bad ideaKeeping the drinks cold in the bath was a good idea.Knocking down this wall was a really bad idea.a great/brilliant/excellent ideaWhat a great idea!a bright idea (=a very good idea - often used ironically)Whose bright idea was it to leave the washing out in the rain?a clever ideaIt seemed like a clever idea at the time.interestingThe idea sounded interesting, but I didn’t think it would work.stupid/ridiculous/crazyThe idea sounded crazy to me.Camping in the middle of winter was a ridiculous idea!He had the crazy idea of hitchhiking around South America.original/innovative (=no one has thought of it before)The company is looking for people who can come up with original ideas.a half-baked idea (=an idea that has not been carefully thought out)It’s yet another of the government’s half-baked ideas.phrasesbe full of ideas (also be bursting with ideas) (=have a lot of ideas)The children were enthusiastic and full of ideas off one another (=discuss each other’s ideas and think of good new ones)Our regular meetings are opportunities to fire ideas off each other. THESAURUSidea something that you think of, especially something that you could do or suggestI think that’s an excellent idea.Let me know if you have any good ideas.thought something that comes into your mindThe thought had entered my mind that he might be lying.It was a worrying thought.She was lost in her thoughts.impression the idea that you have in your mind about what someone or something is likeWhat was your impression of him?inspiration a good and original idea, which makes you think of doing or creating somethingWhere did you get your inspiration from for the book?He suddenly had a flash of inspiration.The design for the house was entirely the inspiration of the architect.brainwave British English, brainstorm American English a sudden new and clever idea, especially one that solves a problemI thought I’d have to sell the house, but then I had a brainwave.concept an idea of how something is, or how something should be doneConcepts of beauty are different in different cultures.the traditional concept of marriagenotion an idea about life or society, especially one that is a little silly or old-fashioned There is no evidence to support the notion that poverty is caused by laziness.
Examples from the Corpus
ideaIdeas and customs used to be passed on intact down the generations.Ideas of how society should function have changed dramatically in the last 200 years."I have an idea, " she said. "Why don't you come with us?"He also uses personification rather a lot throughout the novel to give us more of an idea of what he was idea for a new TV game showWe're trying to think of a name for the book. Does anyone have any ideas?The balanced-budget amendment would be a bad idea under any circumstances.As a general rule, it is a good idea not to choose the same accountant as your manager.That's a good idea!medieval ideas about the origins of the universeYet, as was suggested earlier in this section, new ideas were being bandied about.Here are some new ideas for quick meals that taste great.Where did the new ideas come from?Men and women alike listen to others' ideas and sympathise with their problems.Do you agree generally with Marx's ideas?I never wanted to go to Spain. It was Sue's idea.Who's idea was it to ask him to the party?How old is the idea that there is life after death?Nobody seemed very keen on the idea that we should all dress up for the party.We make toys that are both fun and educational - at least that's the idea.The idea behind the commercials is that reading is as cool and entertaining as their favorite bands.The idea of an underground garage in the park has provoked a lot of anger.The idea of the centre was to provide a place where old people could go during the day.Individual students contribute to the knowledge base as authors and are acknowledged when others use their ideas.idea forEllen got the idea for the business ten years ago.have some ideaWe also have some idea of how casting might be achieved.He might have some ideas about what she should do next.You must have some idea of when Joyce will be home.I now have some idea of what it's about.You should now have some ideas about how well your group is working.The researcher has to have some idea of what he or she is looking for, even though the outcome may be unpredictable.Also very important, if at all possible, is to have some idea of a teacher's normal mode of operation.Once you have some ideas of what would suit you, you will need help to take these ideas forward.idea of/behindIs it possible to explain the asymmetry by way of a clear idea of power or capacity, ability, or disposition?He has some idea of me as a cheating seductress out to get his brother.So did the idea of perfect circles or spheres though Ptolemy added other variants.But if the idea of a hefty loss unnerves you, consider shortening your maturities.Yet there is profit and truth in the idea of innocence, especially as Twain understood and exploited it.The subsidiary was built with the idea of spinning it off, they said.The idea of the recycling campaign is to preserve the environment.The idea of staying in Oregon was beginning to appeal to her, but Roy was nonchalant about it.What's your idea of the perfect romantic evening with a man?idea ofthe Christian idea of an eternal soulMowing the lawn is not my idea of fun.I like Louis's idea of meeting on Saturday mornings.idea aboutHer ideas about marriage are very old-fashioned.idea thatThis process abandons the old idea that it is necessary to start with a two-carbon feedstock to make the two-carbon acetic acid.They were defending the right of the pamphleteer to publish ideas that were unpopular in society or inconvenient for the state.The conversation between group members often reveals ideas that might not be expressed in other circumstances.This concept is based on Rousseau's idea that men are born morally neutral.We pretty much accept without protest the idea that part-time workers will get paid less.This in turn led to the idea that the universe could be finite in imaginary time but without boundaries or singularities.The idea that femininity is in the first place to be associated with motherhood is simply writ large.In order to understand how this happens we need to understand two ideas that are central to cognition theory.The whole idea that he'd been thinking about since Christmas seemed pointless all of a sudden.
Origin idea (1300-1400) Latin Greek, from idein to see