From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
This representation or likeness of the object being transmitted from thence [the senses] to the imagination, and lodged there for the view and observation of the pure intellect, is aptly and properly called its idea. --P. Browne.
What is now "idea" for us? How infinite the fall of this word, since the time where Milton sang of the Creator contemplating his newly-created world, "how it showed . . . Answering his great idea," to its present use, when this person "has an idea that the train has started," and the other "had no idea that the dinner would be so bad!" --Trench.
6. A rational conception; the complete conception of an object when thought of in all its essential elements or constituents; the necessary metaphysical or constituent attributes and relations, when conceived in the abstract.
7. A fiction object or picture created by the imagination; the same when proposed as a pattern to be copied, or a standard to be reached; one of the archetypes or patterns of created things, conceived by the Platonists to have excited objectively from eternity in the mind of the Deity.
Note: "In England, Locke may be said to have been the first who naturalized the term in its Cartesian universality. When, in common language, employed by Milton and Dryden, after Descartes, as before him by Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Hooker, etc., the meaning is Platonic." --Sir W. Hamilton.
Usage: There is scarcely any other word which is subjected to such abusive treatment as is the word idea, in the very general and indiscriminative way in which it is employed, as it is used variously to signify almost any act, state, or content of thought.
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