50 Synonyms for “Idea”

By Mark Nichol

What’s the big idea? Or, more appropriately, what kind of idea is it? Many ways of expressing the idea of an idea await your consideration; here’s an extensive but not necessarily comprehensive list (including other connotations and meanings of the various synonyms):

1. Abstraction: a theoretical idea; also, the process of abstracting, the condition of being disassociated, an abstract work of art, or the quality of being preoccupied
2. Apprehension: the act or quality of becoming aware or grasping a meaning; also, the act of arresting someone or to a sense of foreboding
3. Assumption: a statement taken for granted; also, the act of taking for granted that something is true, or taking something on or laying claim to it, or arrogance or pretension
4. Belief: something held to be true or proper; also, a conviction that something is true, or the state of mind in which someone places confidence in someone or something
5. Brain wave: see brainstorm; also, variations in voltage in the brain, and resulting electrical currents
6. Brainchild: an idea or product one has thought up or created
7. Brainstorm: A sudden idea; also, a brief bout of insanity
8. Caprice: a sudden change in an idea or way of thinking; also, a whimsical inclination, or a lively musical composition
9. Chimera: a fantasy or unrealistic idea; also, an imaginary or mythological creature with anatomical features of various animals or biological phenomena involving genetic diversity in a single organism
10. Cogitation: a distinct idea; also, the act of thinking, or the capacity to do so
11. Cognition: the result of a mental process; also, the mental process itself
12. Conceit: an imaginative idea, or an idea held to be true or appropriate; also, excessive self-regard, a complicated or far-reaching metaphor, a theme, or a fancy trinket
13. Conception: an idea, or the result of abstract thinking; also, the forming or understanding of ideas, the body of ideas that constitute one’s understanding of something, or a beginning or the process of beginning pregnancy
14. Conclusion: an idea formed based on consideration, or a judgment or inference; also, a result or the act of bringing something to an end, or of deciding or summing up a legal case
15. Conjecture: an idea inferred or supposed, or reached by deduction; also, something that has yet to be proven or disproven
16. Conviction: a strongly held idea; also, the state of mind of someone who firmly holds an idea as true, or the act of finding someone guilty of a crime or the state of being found or having been found guilty
17. Delusion: an idea that is mistaken or misleading; also, the act of state of having false ideas, or holding such a false idea as a symptom of mental illness
18. Fancy: see primary definition of whim; also, liking for something, or imagination
19. Freak: see primary definition of whim; also, a strange event, person, or thing, or a person who is enthusiastic about or obsessed with something
20. Guess: an idea one has based on initial or incomplete information
21. Hallucination: an idea or sensory phenomenon produced by a drug or a mental disorder
22. Hunch: see intuition; also, a bulge or lump
23. Hypothesis: an unproven idea assumed to be true as a basis for experimentation or investigation
24. Illusion: see the primary definition of delusion; also, a misleading phenomenon, or the fact or state of being misled
25. Image: a mental picture, or an idea one is able to envision based on words; also, a depiction or picture, the ideal depiction of someone or something based on propaganda or publicity, or someone who closely resembles another
26. Impression: an uncertain or vague idea; also, the act of pressing something into a medium or material to make an outline of it, or producing a figurative equivalent in someone’s mind, or the literal or figurative result of such an action, or an imitation, for the purposes of entertainment, of a well-known person
27. Inspiration: an imaginative idea or feeling; also, something that prompts or is the product of such an idea or feeling, the quality or state of this condition, or the prompting of emotion or thinking, or the act of breathing in
28. Intellection: the act of thinking or reasoning
29. Intuition: an idea based on a sudden realization, or on feeling without conscious thinking
30. Kink: see the primary definition of whim; also, an unusual or clever approach, an eccentricity or fetish, a curl, twist, or other imperfection, or a cramp
31. Mind’s eye: the ability to envision ideas or depictions, or the product of this ability
32. Notion: an idea or understanding that may be imaginative or speculative; also, something believed to be true or appropriate, or, in plural form, practical personal or hygienic items
33. Observation: an idea based on awareness or notice; also, adherence to a custom, principle, or rule, the act of seeing or thinking about something or the ability to do so, the gathering of information or evidence, or the state of being noticed or watched
34. Opinion: a statement or idea one holds to be true or appropriate; also, a judicial statement summarizing a decision about a case
35. Perception: an idea based on noticing; also, awareness, or the ability to understand
36. Phantasm: a misleading idea; also, a fantasy, a ghost, or an illusion
37. Picture: a mental image; also, a copy, depiction, or image, an exemplar, or a set of circumstances
38. Preconception: an idea assumed before careful consideration
39. Prejudice: an idea or feeling of dislike or animosity about someone or something; also, wrong done to someone
40. Premonition: an idea or feeling of impending action or occurrence
41. Prepossession: see the primary definition of prejudice; also, an obsession with one idea or thing
42. Presentiment: see premonition
43. Reflection: an idea formed, or a comment made, after careful thinking; also, the act of careful thinking, or something that causes a negative response, or the return of light or sound waves from a surface, the creation of such a phenomenon, or the phenomenon itself
44. Speculation: consideration of what may be true or what may happen; also, a risky investment with potential for great profit, or the act of investing in this manner
45. Supposition: an idea based on preliminary consideration, or one that someone believes
46. Surmise: see guess
47. Theory: an unproven idea, or one presented for consideration; also, a group of ideas or principles
48. Thought: an idea formed in one’s mind; also, the act of thinking, a way of thinking, or an intention, or consideration or the power to consider
49. Vagary: an odd or unpredictable idea
50. Whim: an unusual and perhaps sudden idea; also, a rotating drum or shaft

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