From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishideai‧dea /aɪˈdɪə/ ●●●S1W1 noun1plan/suggestion [countable]IDEA a plan or suggestion for a possible course of action, especially one that you think of suddenlyYou 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 forThe idea for the book came from an old war movie.the idea of doing somethingI 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.2knowledge [countable, uncountable]UNDERSTAND a generalunderstanding of something, based on some knowledge about itCould 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 ideaShe 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 spokenI don’t have the faintest idea what to get Rachel for her birthday.3aim/intention [countable, uncountable]PURPOSE the aim, intention, or purpose of doing somethingThe idea is to teach children to save money.idea of/behindThe 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).4how you imagine something to be [countable, uncountable]IMAGINE an image in your mind of what something is like or should be likeidea ofChefs 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 somethingChocolate milk and a piece of cake is not my idea of dinner.The very idea of kissing him made her feel physically sick.5belief/opinion [countable usually plural]BELIEVE someone’s opinion or belief about somethingidea aboutShe 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?
6principle [countable]BELIEVE a principle or belief about how something is or should beidea ofThe whole idea of democracy was something strange and new to most people.idea thatIt’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 upat 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.fire/bounce 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.