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



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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