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From Middle French imaginaire, from Latin imāginārius (relating to images, fancied), from imāgo.



imaginary (comparative more imaginary, superlative most imaginary)

  1. existing only in the imagination.
    She isn't real, she's imaginary.
    • Addison
      Wilt thou add to all the griefs I suffer / Imaginary ills and fancied tortures?
  2. (mathematics) of a number, having no real part; that part of a complex number which is a multiple of the square root of -1.

Derived terms[edit]



imaginary (plural imaginaries)

  1. Imagination; fancy. [from 16th c.]
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 324:
      By then too Mozart's opera, from Da Ponte's libretto, had made Figaro a stock character in the European imaginary and set the whole Continent whistling Mozartian airs and chuckling at Figaresque humour.
  2. (mathematics) An imaginary quantity. [from 18th c.]

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