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Rare. in logic, a contrary.
the body of doctrines, philosophical bases, symbols, etc., associated with a particular social or political movement, large group, or individual. — ideological, adj. — ideologist, n.
the concept that ideas and thoughts are instruments of action and that their usefulness determines their truth. — instrumentalist, adj.
1. the exercise or use of the intellect.
2. a particular act or process of the intellect.
an abnormal dislike for new ideas.
a modern person; one accepting new ideas and practices.
a person who forms schemes; a projector or promoter.
the science of ideas.
1. the methods and tools that a society has developed in order to facilitate the solution of its practical problems.
2. any specific application of such. — technological, adj. — technologist, n.
the branch or part of any field of learning or knowledge that is concerned with theories or hypotheses, as contrasted with practical application.
a person who forms theories or who specializes in the theory of a particular subject.
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


  1. As flowers grow in more tropical luxuriance in a hothouse, so do wild and frenzied ideas flourish in the darkness —Stefan Zweig
  2. Every conjecture exploded like a pricked bubble —Stefan Zweig
  3. The flow of ideas is broad, continuous, like a river —Gustave Flaubert

    In a letter to George Sand, Flaubert thus refers to her easy writing style. About his own style, he said, “It’s a tiny trickle.”

  4. Get ideas like other men catch cold —Diane Ackerman
  5. Getting an idea should be like sitting down on a pin; it should make you jump up and do something —E.L. Simpson
  6. His fancy … ran along with him, like the sails of a small boat, from which the ballast is thrown overboard —Isak Dinesen
  7. The history of ideas is a history of mistakes —Alfred North Whitehead

    Whitehead follows this simile with “But through all mistakes is also the history of the gradual purification of conduct.”

  8. The idea came … like a ray of light —Vladimir G. Korolenko
  9. The idea danced before us as a flag —Edgar Lee Masters
  10. An idea, like a ghost … must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself —Charles Dickens
  11. The idea remained, roaming in the dark of his mind … like a rat in the basement, too canny to be poisoned or trapped —John Gardner
  12. Ideas are free. But while the author confines them to his study, they are like birds in a cage, which none but he can have a right to let fly; for, till he thinks proper to emancipate them, they are under his own dominion —Sir Joseph Yates
  13. Ideas are like beards; men do not have them until they grow up —Voltaire
  14. Ideas came with explosive immediacy, like an instant birth. Human thought is like a monstrous pendulum; it keeps swinging from one extreme to the other —Eugene Field
  15. Ideas come and go; they appear on the horizon as fleeting as rainbows, they rise and fall again like hemlines —Lynne Sharon Schwartz See Also: TRANSIENCE
  16. Ideas die, like men —Marguerite Yourcenar
  17. Ideas good as a fat wallet —Richard Ford

    See Also: MONEY

  18. Ideas, like women’s clothes and rich men’s illnesses, change according to fashion —Lawrence Durrell
  19. Ideas of your own are like babies. They are all right if you can keep them quiet —Anon
  20. Ideas rose out of him, streamed through his hair like wildflowers —Pat Conroy

    See Also: ABUNDANCE

  21. Ideas should be received like guests, in a friendly way, but with the reservation that they are not to tyrannize their host —Albert Moravia
  22. Ideas that … in the light of day, may hide but never quite go away. Like mice in old houses, one knows they’re there —David R. Slavitt See Also: PERSISTENCE
  23. Ideas winged their way swiftly like martins round the bell at dawn —Ivan Turgenev
  24. The imagination is like the drunk man who lost his watch, and must get drunk again to find it. It is as intimate as speech and custom, and to trace its ways we need to reeducate our eyes —Guy Davenport
  25. Imagination is like a lofty building reared to meet the sky —Gelett Burgess
  26. Imagination … must be immediate and direct like the gaze that kindles it —Italo Calvino
  27. Lack ideas … as if someone had tied a tourniquet around the left side of his brain —Anon
  28. Like good yeast bread, a good idea needs time to proof —Erik Sandberg-Diment, New York Times, August 24, 1986
  29. (Olga’s mind was sensuously slow: she) lingered over an idea like someone lingering in a hot tub —Wilfrid Sheed
  30. Old ideas, like old clothes, put carefully away, come out again after a time almost as good as new —Punch, 1856
  31. Picking up the idea by its corner like a soiled hanky —Rosellen Brown
  32. Planted ideas … as a gardener will plant sticks for climbing sweet pea —Lawrence Durrell
  33. A shortsighted concept … rather like a bankrupt saying he’s invested his capital in debts —Frank Ross
  34. The theory arrived neither full-blown, like an orphan on the doorstep, nor sharply defined, like a spike through a shoe; nor did it develop as would a photographic print, crisp images gradually memerging from a shadowy soup. Rather, it unwound like a turban, like mummy bandage —Tom Robbins
  35. What America needs now are ideas like shafts of light —Ellen Gilchrist, National Public Radio, September 22, 1986
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Plato's doctrine of ideas has attained an imaginary clearness and definiteness which is not to be found in his own writings.
It is said to be one of the merits of the human mind that it is capable of framing abstract ideas, and of conducting nonsensational thought.
The truth of this is sufficiently manifest from the single circumstance, that the philosophers of the schools accept as a maxim that there is nothing in the understanding which was not previously in the senses, in which however it is certain that the ideas of God and of the soul have never been; and it appears to me that they who make use of their imagination to comprehend these ideas do exactly the some thing as if, in order to hear sounds or smell odors, they strove to avail themselves of their eyes; unless indeed that there is this difference, that the sense of sight does not afford us an inferior assurance to those of smell or hearing; in place of which, neither our imagination nor our senses can give us assurance of anything unless our understanding intervene.
"And the two ideas," said Mazarin; -- "I am more curious about ideas than about men, for my part."
Tried by this test, several of the Platonic Dialogues, according to our modern ideas, appear to be defective, but the deficiency is no proof that they were composed at different times or by different hands.
Gervinus, Schlosser, and others, for instance, at one time prove Napoleon to be a product of the Revolution, of the ideas of 1789 and so forth, and at another plainly say that the campaign of 1812 and other things they do not like were simply the product of Napoleon's misdirected will, and that the very ideas of 1789 were arrested in their development by Napoleon's caprice.
The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer.
With that parting shot at the new ideas, my old friend left me for a time.
He was beset by ideas and in the throes of one of his ideas was uncontrollable.
Has this mind, so replete with ideas, imaginations fanciful and magnificent, which formed a world, whose existence depended on the life of its creator; --has this mind perished?
The brave Americans serving our nation today in the Persian Gulf, in Somalia, and wherever else they stand, are testament to our resolve, but our greatest strength is the power of our ideas, which are still new in many lands.
Ideas can never utterly perish, so these beliefs linger on in our midst, but they do not influence the great mass of the people, and Society has no support but Egoism.