9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ih-maj-uh-ner-ee] /ɪˈmædʒ əˌnɛr i/
existing only in the imagination or fancy; not real; fancied:
an imaginary illness; the imaginary animals in the stories of Dr. Seuss.
noun, plural imaginaries.
Mathematics, imaginary number.
Origin of imaginary
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin imāginārius, equivalent to imāgin-, (stem of imāgō) image + -ārius -ary
Related forms
imaginarily, adverb
imaginariness, noun
nonimaginarily, adverb
nonimaginarilyness, noun
nonimaginariness, noun
nonimaginary, adjective
preimaginary, adjective
unimaginary, adjective
Can be confused
imaginary, imaginative.
1. fanciful, visionary, shadowy, chimerical, baseless, illusory.
1. real. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for imaginary
  • All of us in our imaginary bodies, sharing an invented reality.
  • These prohibitions and quite a few more turn out to be imaginary monsters under the bed.
  • Brainstorm some names of imaginary prehistoric creatures if they were discovered in your local area.
  • Our mental maps of risk and safety rely too heavily on imaginary boundaries.
  • Generations were raised on it, and rearing their own with the show, with that big goofy bird and his imaginary friend.
  • For anyone who has ever spent time within imaginary realms, the book will speak volumes.
  • Perceived personality is what is in an imaginary friend, a cartoon or movie character, or a robot.
  • Brainstorm some names of imaginary prehistoric sea creatures if they were discovered in your local area.
  • Borders are all-important imaginary lines that affect our lives in myriad ways.
  • Hot flashes are a staple of menopause jokes, but there is nothing funny about them, and certainly nothing imaginary.
British Dictionary definitions for imaginary


/ɪˈmædʒɪnərɪ; -dʒɪnrɪ/
existing in the imagination; unreal; illusory
(maths) involving or containing imaginary numbers. The imaginary part of a complex number, z, is usually written Imz
Derived Forms
imaginarily, adverb
imaginariness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for imaginary

"not real," late 14c., ymaginaire, from imagine + -ary; or else from Late Latin imaginarius "seeming, fancied," from imaginari. Imaginary friend (one who does not exist) attested by 1789.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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