What is an idea?

What is an idea? Here are some definitions.

  1. (philosophy) An abstract archetype of a given thing, compared to which real-life examples are seen as imperfect approximations; pure essence, as opposed to actual examples. [from 14th c.]
  2. (obsolete) The conception of someone or something as representing a perfect example; an ideal. [16th-19th c.]
  3. (obsolete) The form or shape of something; a quintessential aspect or characteristic. [16th-18th c.]
  4. An image of an object that is formed in the mind or recalled by the memory. [from 16th c.]
  5. More generally, any result of mental activity; a thought, a notion; a way of thinking. [from 17th c.]
  6. A conception in the mind of something to be done; a plan for doing something, an intention. [from 17th c.]
  7. A vague or fanciful notion; a feeling or hunch; an impression. [from 17th c.]
  8. (music) A musical theme or melodic subject. [from 18th c.]
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