Definitions for: Imagination

[n] the formation of a mental image of something that is not perceived as real and is not present to the senses; "popular imagination created a world of demons"; "imagination reveals what the world could be"
[n] the ability to deal resourcefully with unusual problems; "a man of resource"
[n] the ability to form mental images of things or events; "he could still hear her in his imagination"

Webster (1913) Definition: Im*ag`i*na"tion, n. [OE. imaginacionum, F.
imagination, fr. L. imaginatio. See Imagine.]
1. The imagine-making power of the mind; the power to create
or reproduce ideally an object of sense previously
perceived; the power to call up mental imagines.

Our simple apprehension of corporeal objects, if
present, is sense; if absent, is imagination.

Imagination is of three kinds: joined with belief of
that which is to come; joined with memory of that
which is past; and of things present, or as if they
were present. --Bacon.

2. The representative power; the power to reconstruct or
recombine the materials furnished by direct apprehension;
the complex faculty usually termed the plastic or creative
power; the fancy.

The imagination of common language -- the productive
imagination of philosophers -- is nothing but the
representative process plus the process to which I
would give the name of the ``comparative.'' --Sir W.

The power of the mind to decompose its conceptions,
and to recombine the elements of them at its
pleasure, is called its faculty of imagination. --I.

The business of conception is to present us with an
exact transcript of what we have felt or perceived.
But we have moreover a power of modifying our
conceptions, by combining the parts of different
ones together, so as to form new wholes of our
creation. I shall employ the word imagination to
express this power. --Stewart.

3. The power to recombine the materials furnished by
experience or memory, for the accomplishment of an
elevated purpose; the power of conceiving and expressing
the ideal.

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet Are of
imagination all compact . . . The poet's eye, in a
fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to
earth, from earth to heaven, And as imagination
bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's
pen Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name. --Shak.

4. A mental image formed by the action of the imagination as
a faculty; a conception; a notion. --Shak.

Syn: Conception; idea; conceit; fancy; device; origination;
invention; scheme; design; purpose; contrivance.

Usage: Imagination, Fancy. These words have, to a great
extent, been interchanged by our best writers, and
considered as strictly synonymous. A distinction,
however, is now made between them which more fully
exhibits their nature. Properly speaking, they are
different exercises of the same general power -- the
plastic or creative faculty. Imagination consists in
taking parts of our conceptions and combining them
into new forms and images more select, more striking,
more delightful, more terrible, etc., than those of
ordinary nature. It is the higher exercise of the two.
It creates by laws more closely connected with the
reason; it has strong emotion as its actuating and
formative cause; it aims at results of a definite and
weighty character. Milton's fiery lake, the debates of
his Pandemonium, the exquisite scenes of his Paradise,
are all products of the imagination. Fancy moves on a
lighter wing; it is governed by laws of association
which are more remote, and sometimes arbitrary or
capricious. Hence the term fanciful, which exhibits
fancy in its wilder flights. It has for its actuating
spirit feelings of a lively, gay, and versatile
character; it seeks to please by unexpected
combinations of thought, startling contrasts, flashes
of brilliant imagery, etc. Pope's Rape of the Lock is
an exhibition of fancy which has scarcely its equal in
the literature of any country. -- ``This, for
instance, Wordsworth did in respect of the words
`imagination' and `fancy.' Before he wrote, it was, I
suppose, obscurely felt by most that in `imagination'
there was more of the earnest, in `fancy' of the play
of the spirit; that the first was a loftier faculty
and gift than the second; yet for all this words were
continually, and not without loss, confounded. He
first, in the preface to his Lyrical Ballads, rendered
it henceforth impossible that any one, who had read
and mastered what he has written on the two words,
should remain unconscious any longer of the important
difference between them.'' --Trench.

The same power, which we should call fancy if
employed on a production of a light nature,
would be dignified with the title of imagination
if shown on a grander scale. --C. J. Smith.

Synonyms: imagery, imaginativeness, imaging, mental imagery, resource, resourcefulness, vision

See Also: armory, armoury, chimaera, chimera, cleverness, creativeness, creativity, dream, dreaming, envisioning, evocation, fancy, fantasy, ingeniousness, ingenuity, inventiveness, inventory, make-believe, mind's eye, phantasy, picturing, pretence, pretense, representational process

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