a. The ability to form mental images of things that are not present to the senses or not considered to be real: The author uses her imagination to create a universe parallel to our own.
b. The formation of such images: a child's imagination of monsters.
c. One of these mental images: "some secret sense ... which ... took to itself and treasured up ... her thoughts, her imaginations, her desires" (Virginia Woolf).
d. The mind viewed as the locus or repository of this ability or these images: "This story had been rattling around in my imagination for years" (Orson Scott Card).
2. The ability to confront and deal with reality by using the creative power of the mind; resourcefulness: handled the problems with great imagination.
3. Attention, interest, or enthusiasm: an explorer's ordeal that caught the imagination of the public.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.