Imagination Essay

1631 Words4 Pages
Kalea Martin
AP English
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Words: 1,789
Imagination is a word that applies to everyone. It remains a part of everyone’s life throughout childhood and adulthood. An imagination has no boundaries, and every individual’s imagination is one-of-a-kind. Imagination makes the dull perspective of life fun and entertaining. Its degree of influence on people and its uniqueness make imagination a particularly fascinating word, and this is why I was interested to delve deeper into the history and evolution of its definition. Initially, the first phrases that come to mind are “using your imagination” and “having a big imagination.” To me, these phrases mean forming new ideas by thinking creatively and having a big capacity for creative thinking. When I think of the word itself, I consider it to refer to the unique thoughts and fantasies that can lead to coming up with stories, uncommon inventions, and new ideas or concepts.
My quest for meaning began with the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning of the word imagination, in summary, has always involved something not in existence. “Something not in existence” is a very broad and open-ended generalization, but so is imagination. After perusing all of the listed definitions, I discovered that the earliest definition, coincidentally, is the one that generally encompasses the most modern meaning. The earliest definition, whose use was first documented in 1340, describes imagination as the act of forming a mental concept that “does not correspond to the reality of things” (OED 669). The definitions that developed in later years are variations of this definition, each leaning towards different aspects of imagina...

... middle of paper ... research of imagination has truly expanded my understanding of this word. Its meaning no longer seems as one-dimensional as I knew it before. It is a very powerful type of thought, and it comes as a surprise that today we hold on the older meanings. I primarily learned that its uniqueness is evident in the evolution of the word’s definition; an imagination is different for everyone and therefore throughout history it has been interpreted in many different ways. Without imagination we would not have our favorite Disney movies, and without imaginative people like Steve Jobs we would not have the Apple products countless people use on a daily basis. Imagination itself and the meaning it holds is very complex, and now that I’ve been exposed to all of its modern and obsolete definitions, it seems almost impossible to sum up the meaning of imagination in one word.
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