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In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
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1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
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1828.mshaffer.comWord [imagination]

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imagination

IMAGINA'TION, n. [L. imaginatio.] The power or faculty of the mind by which it conceives and forms ideas of things communicated to it by the organs of sense.

Imagination I understand to be the representation of an individual thought.

Our simple apprehension of corporeal objects, if present, is sense; if absent, is imagination [conception.]

Imagination, in its proper sense,signifies a lively conception of objects of sight. It is distinguished from conception, as a part from a whole.

The business of conception is to present us with an exact transcript of what we have felt or perceived. But we have also a power of modifying our conceptions, by combining the parts of different ones so as to form new wholes of our own creation. I shall employ the word imagination to express this power. I apprehend this to be the proper sense of the word, if imagination be the power which gives birth to the productions of the poet and the painter.

We would define imagination to be the will working on the materials of memory; not satisfied with following the order prescribed by nature, or suggested by accident, it selects the parts of different conceptions, or objects of memory, to form a whole more pleasing, more terrible, or more awful,than has ever been presented in the ordinary course of nature.

The two latter definitions give the true sense of the word, as now understood.

1. Conception; image in the mind; idea.

Sometimes despair darkens all her imaginations.

His imaginations were often as just as they were bold and strong.

2. Contrivance; scheme formed in the mind; device.

Thou hast seen all their vengeance, and all their imaginations against me. Lam.3.

3. Conceit; an unsolid or fanciful opinion.

We are apt to think that space, in itself, is actually boundless; to which imagination, the idea of space of itself leads us.

4. First motion or purpose of the mind. Gen.6.



Evolution (or devolution) of this word [imagination]

1828 Webster1844 Webster1913 Webster

IMAGINA'TION, n. [L. imaginatio.] The power or faculty of the mind by which it conceives and forms ideas of things communicated to it by the organs of sense.

Imagination I understand to be the representation of an individual thought.

Our simple apprehension of corporeal objects, if present, is sense; if absent, is imagination [conception.]

Imagination, in its proper sense,signifies a lively conception of objects of sight. It is distinguished from conception, as a part from a whole.

The business of conception is to present us with an exact transcript of what we have felt or perceived. But we have also a power of modifying our conceptions, by combining the parts of different ones so as to form new wholes of our own creation. I shall employ the word imagination to express this power. I apprehend this to be the proper sense of the word, if imagination be the power which gives birth to the productions of the poet and the painter.

We would define imagination to be the will working on the materials of memory; not satisfied with following the order prescribed by nature, or suggested by accident, it selects the parts of different conceptions, or objects of memory, to form a whole more pleasing, more terrible, or more awful,than has ever been presented in the ordinary course of nature.

The two latter definitions give the true sense of the word, as now understood.

1. Conception; image in the mind; idea.

Sometimes despair darkens all her imaginations.

His imaginations were often as just as they were bold and strong.

2. Contrivance; scheme formed in the mind; device.

Thou hast seen all their vengeance, and all their imaginations against me. Lam.3.

3. Conceit; an unsolid or fanciful opinion.

We are apt to think that space, in itself, is actually boundless; to which imagination, the idea of space of itself leads us.

4. First motion or purpose of the mind. Gen.6.

IM-AG-IN-A'TION, n. [L. imaginatio; Fr. imagination.]

  1. The power or faculty of the mind by which it conceives and forms ideas of things communicated to it by the organs of sense. Encyc. Imagination I understand to be the representation of an individual thought. Bacon. Our simple apprehension of corporeal objects, if present, is sense; if absent, is imagination, [conception.] Glanville. Imagination, in its proper sense, signifies a lively conception of objects of sight. It is distinguished from conception as a part from a whole. Reid. The business of conception is to present us with an exact transcript of what we have felt or perceived. But we have also a power of modifying our conceptions, by combining the parts of different ones so as to form new wholes of our own creation. I shall employ the word imagination to express this power. I apprehend this to be the proper sense of the word, if imagination be the power which gives birth to the productions of the poet and the painter. Stewart. We would define imagination to be the will working on the materials of memory; not satisfied with following the order prescribed by nature, or suggested by accident, it selects the parts of different conceptions, or objects of memory, to form a whole more pleasing, more terrible, or more awful, than has ever been presented in the ordinary course of nature. Ed. Encyc. The two latter definitions give the true sense of the word, as now understood.
  2. Conception; image in the mind; idea. Sometimes despair darkens all her imaginations. Sidney. His imaginations were often as just as they were bold and strong. Dennis.
  3. Contrivance; scheme formed in the mind; device. Thou hast seen all their vengeance, and all their imaginations against me. Lam. iii.
  4. Conceit; an unsolid or fanciful opinion. We are apt to think that space, in itself, is actually boundless; to which imagination, the idea of space of itself leads us. Locke.
  5. First motion or purpose of the mind. Gen. vi.

Im*ag`i*na"tion
  1. The imagine-making power of the mind; the power to create or reproduce ideally an object of sense previously perceived; the power to call up mental imagines.

    Our simple apprehension of corporeal objects, if present, is sense; if absent, is imagination. Glanvill.

    Imagination is of three kinds: joined with belief of that which is to come; joined with memory of that which is past; and of things present, or as if they were present. Bacon.

  2. The representative power; the power to reconstruct or recombine the materials furnished by direct apprehension; the complex faculty usually termed the plastic or creative power; the fancy.

    The imagination of common language -- the productive imagination of philosophers -- is nothing but the representative process plus the process to which I would give the name of the "comparative." Sir W. Hamilton.

    The power of the mind to decompose its conceptions, and to recombine the elements of them at its pleasure, is called its faculty of imagination. I. Taylor.

    The business of conception is to present us with an exact transcript of what we have felt or perceived. But we have moreover a power of modifying our conceptions, by combining the parts of different ones together, so as to form new wholes of our creation. I shall employ the word imagination to express this power. Stewart.

  3. The power to recombine the materials furnished by experience or memory, for the accomplishment of an elevated purpose; the power of conceiving and expressing the ideal.

    The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
    Are of imagination all compact . . .
    The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
    Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,
    And as imagination bodies forth
    The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
    Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
    A local habitation and a name.
    Shak.

  4. A mental image formed by the action of the imagination as a faculty; a conception; a notion.

    Shak.

    Syn. -- Conception; idea; conceit; fancy; device; origination; invention; scheme; design; purpose; contrivance. -- Imagination, Fancy. These words have, to a great extent, been interchanged by our best writers, and considered as strictly synonymous. A distinction, however, is now made between them which more fully exhibits their nature. Properly speaking, they are different exercises of the same general power -- the plastic or creative faculty. Imagination consists in taking parts of our conceptions and combining them into new forms and images more select, more striking, more delightful, more terrible, etc., than those of ordinary nature. It is the higher exercise of the two. It creates by laws more closely connected with the reason; it has strong emotion as its actuating and formative cause; it aims at results of a definite and weighty character. Milton's fiery lake, the debates of his Pandemonium, the exquisite scenes of his Paradise, are all products of the imagination. Fancy moves on a lighter wing; it is governed by laws of association which are more remote, and sometimes arbitrary or capricious. Hence the term fanciful, which exhibits fancy in its wilder flights. It has for its actuating spirit feelings of a lively, gay, and versatile character; it seeks to please by unexpected combinations of thought, startling contrasts, flashes of brilliant imagery, etc. Pope's Rape of the Lock is an exhibition of fancy which has scarcely its equal in the literature of any country. -- "This, for instance, Wordsworth did in respect of the words ‘imagination' and ‘fancy.' Before he wrote, it was, I suppose, obscurely felt by most that in ‘imagination' there was more of the earnest, in ‘fancy' of the play of the spirit; that the first was a loftier faculty and gift than the second; yet for all this words were continually, and not without loss, confounded. He first, in the preface to his Lyrical Ballads, rendered it henceforth impossible that any one, who had read and mastered what he has written on the two words, should remain unconscious any longer of the important difference between them." Trench.

    The same power, which we should call fancy if employed on a production of a light nature, would be dignified with the title of imagination if shown on a grander scale. C. J. Smith.

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Imagination

IMAGINA'TION, noun [Latin imaginatio.] The power or faculty of the mind by which it conceives and forms ideas of things communicated to it by the organs of sense.

Imagination I understand to be the representation of an individual thought.

Our simple apprehension of corporeal objects, if present, is sense; if absent, is imagination [conception.]

Imagination, in its proper sense, signifies a lively conception of objects of sight. It is distinguished from conception, as a part from a whole.

The business of conception is to present us with an exact transcript of what we have felt or perceived. But we have also a power of modifying our conceptions, by combining the parts of different ones so as to form new wholes of our own creation. I shall employ the word imagination to express this power. I apprehend this to be the proper sense of the word, if imagination be the power which gives birth to the productions of the poet and the painter.

We would define imagination to be the will working on the materials of memory; not satisfied with following the order prescribed by nature, or suggested by accident, it selects the parts of different conceptions, or objects of memory, to form a whole more pleasing, more terrible, or more awful, than has ever been presented in the ordinary course of nature.

The two latter definitions give the true sense of the word, as now understood.

1. Conception; image in the mind; idea.

Sometimes despair darkens all her imaginations.

His imaginations were often as just as they were bold and strong.

2. Contrivance; scheme formed in the mind; device.

Thou hast seen all their vengeance, and all their imaginations against me. Lamentations 3:60.

3. Conceit; an unsolid or fanciful opinion.

We are apt to think that space, in itself, is actually boundless; to which imagination the idea of space of itself leads us.

4. First motion or purpose of the mind. Genesis 6:5.

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Word of the Day

importance

IMPORT'ANCE, n.

1. Weight; consequence; a bearing on some interest; that quality of any thing by which it may affect a measure, interest or result. The education of youth is of great importance to a free government. A religious education is of infinite importance to every human being.

2. Weight or consequence in the scale of being.

Thy own importance know.

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

3. Weight or consequence in self-estimation.

He believes himself a man of importance.

4. Thing implied; matter; subject; importunity. [In these senses, obsolete.]

Random Word

contravening

CONTRAVENING, ppr. Opposing in principle or effect.

Noah's 1828 Dictionary

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Noah Webster, the Father of American Christian education, wrote the first American dictionary and established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage in communication to maintain independence. Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions.

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