idea noun

1 plan/suggestion

ADJ. bright, brilliant, clever, excellent, good, great, marvellous | valuable, worthwhile | exciting, inspirational, interesting, stimulating | constructive, positive | creative, imaginative, innovative, original | wacky | big The latest big idea is to make women more interested in sport. | alternative Group counselling is used as an alternative idea to punishment. | fresh, new | absurd, bad, mistaken, ridiculous | crackpot, crazy, mad, outlandish, wild | half-baked | ambitious, big, grand He joined the company as an office assistant with big ideas. | grandiose | basic The basic idea is that we all meet up in London.

VERB + IDEA have Do you have any ideas for a present for Lara? | come up with, dream up, hit on/upon, produce, think up | draw, get Her ideas are drawn mainly from Chinese art. | contribute, input | moot, put forward | promote, push (forward), sell They managed to push the idea of moving office through the committee. | welcome Most employees welcome the idea of a ban on smoking. | consider, entertain, flirt with, toy with I'm toying with the idea of packing in my job. | mull over, turn over He kept turning the idea of resigning over in his mind. | encourage, generate Brainstorming is a good way of generating ideas. | stifle a system of decision-making that stifles original ideas | reject, scoff at, veto | test, try out | bounce around, bounce off sb, brainstorm, discuss, explore, talk about I met up with a designer to bounce a few ideas around. It's useful to have someone to bounce ideas off. | exchange, pool, share | give sb What gave you the idea to go freelance? | apply, implement, put into action/effect/practice The idea had long been mooted but nothing had been done to put it into practice. | transform, translate How could we translate the idea into business reality? | steal She accused the company of stealing her idea. | impose She always tries to impose her own ideas on the rest of the team.

IDEA + VERB come into sb's head/mind, come to sb, flash across/into sb's mind/brain, hit sb, occur to sb, pop into sb's head, strike sb The idea for the invention came to him in the bath. | emerge, evolve, form, grow An idea began to form in his mind. | flow His ideas flowed faster than he could express them. | come from sb/sth, date back from/to sth, originate, start, stem from sth The idea for the Olympics originated with Pierre de Coubertin. | blossom, work (out) The idea has now blossomed into a successful mail-order business. | lead The idea eventually led to the invention of the telephone. | come to nothing

PREP. ~ about I have an idea about how to tackle the problem. | ~ for We were asked to suggest ideas for improving efficiency. | ~ of She had the idea of advertising on the Internet.

PHRASES be open to ideas I don't know what to do, but I'm open to ideas. | the germ/glimmering of an idea The germ of his idea came from watching a bird make a nest. | have other ideas I wanted to take the week off, but my boss had other ideas. | it might be an idea It might be an idea to leave a note on the door for Mark.

2 thought/impression

ADJ. clear, concrete, precise | abstract | theoretical | basic, rough, vague He gave me a rough idea of what was wanted. | key, main The book introduces the key ideas of sociology. | dominant | fixed, inflexible | preconceived | definite, firm, strong She has very definite ideas about what kind of a job she wants. | complex, difficult | simplistic | conventional | traditional | radical, revolutionary | contradictory | erroneous, false, wrong I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea about me. | funny, strange | utopian | romantic People have a romantic idea of the police force. | new-fangled | outdated | not the faintest/foggiest/remotest/slightest (informal) I haven't got the faintest idea what she meant. | artistic, economic, intellectual, moral, musical, philosophical, political, scientific | fascist, feminist, nationalist, socialist

VERB + IDEA get They seem to have got the idea that we will be giving them a lift. You'll soon get the idea (= understand). | espouse, have, hold He holds very different ideas to mine about discipline. | develop, form, shape the experiences that shaped her ideas | express | communicate, convey, get across, get over, present, put across The book puts across complex ideas in a way anyone can understand. | demonstrate, explain, expound, illustrate | clarify, formalize, formulate, organize, structure Give careful thought to how to structure your ideas in the essay. | change, reconsider, reshape, revise They had to reconsider their ideas in the light of new evidence. | accept | dismiss, reject | harbour I hope he's not still harbouring ideas about asking me out. | be obsessed with He's obsessed with the idea of getting a motorbike. | relish I don't relish the idea of sharing an office with Tony.

IDEA + VERB amuse sb, appeal to sb, please sb The idea of going to his rescue amused her. | catch on, take hold Some students started wearing denim, and the idea caught on.

PREP. ~ about She's got some funny ideas about how to motivate staff. | ~ behind The idea behind the ceremony is to keep the gods happy to ensure a good crop. | ~ of Swimming in an icy river is not my idea of fun.