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Imagination vs. Fantasy: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Imagination is the ability to create ideas or pictures in your mind, while fantasy specifically refers to imaginative ideas that are not realistic or practical.
Imagination vs. Fantasy

Key Differences

This is the mental ability to create new ideas, images, or concepts not present to the senses. It encompasses a broad range of mental activities, including problem-solving, creative thinking, and planning.
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Nov 25, 2023
Fantasy, in contrast, is a subset of imagination that focuses on ideas or images that are fanciful, unrealistic, or removed from reality. It often involves creating worlds or scenarios that are not possible or practical in real life.
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Nov 25, 2023
Imagination is used in everyday tasks, artistic creation, and scientific innovation. Fantasy is more specific, often related to creative arts like literature, film, and games, where non-realistic elements are central.
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Nov 25, 2023
Imagination can be realistic, aligning with real-world possibilities, while fantasy typically involves surreal, extraordinary elements that are not bound by real-world constraints.
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Nov 25, 2023
Imagination serves practical purposes in problem-solving and innovation. Fantasy, while also creative, is more often associated with escapism, entertainment, and artistic expression.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Creating ideas within the mind's realm
Imaginative ideas detached from reality
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Scope

Broad, encompassing all mental creations
Narrower, focused on unreal or surreal ideas
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Application

Problem-solving, innovation, planning
Arts, entertainment, escapism
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Realism

Can be realistic or unrealistic
Typically unrealistic or fanciful
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Purpose

Practical and creative uses
Mainly for entertainment and artistic expression
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Imagination and Fantasy Definitions

Imagination

The action of forming new ideas or concepts of external objects not present.
The architect's imagination was evident in the building's unique design.
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Nov 21, 2023

Fantasy

A daydream or an escape from reality.
Lost in fantasy, she pictured herself on a distant, unexplored planet.
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Nov 21, 2023

Imagination

The power of the mind to be creative or resourceful.
Her imagination turned the simple garden into a magical place.
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Nov 21, 2023

Fantasy

An imaginative or fanciful idea, not grounded in reality.
The novel was a flight of fantasy with dragons and magic.
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Nov 21, 2023

Imagination

The faculty of creatively thinking or inventing something new.
His imagination led to the invention of a new gadget.
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Nov 21, 2023
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Fantasy

A genre of literature involving magical or supernatural elements.
His favorite book was a fantasy epic set in a mythical world.
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Nov 21, 2023

Imagination

The ability to form mental images or concepts not present to the senses.
Her imagination conjured up a solution to the complex problem.
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Nov 21, 2023

Fantasy

An unrealistic or improbable mental image.
Her fantasy of becoming a movie star was far from her real life.
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Nov 21, 2023

Imagination

The capacity to project oneself into another's position.
Through his imagination, he could empathize with others' experiences.
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Nov 21, 2023

Fantasy

An elaborate mental scenario, often extravagant.
His fantasy of a utopian society was detailed and vivid.
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Nov 21, 2023

Imagination

The ability to form mental images of things that are not present to the senses or not considered to be real
The author uses her imagination to create a universe parallel to our own.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

The creative imagination; unrestrained fancy.
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Imagination

The formation of such images
A child's imagination of monsters.
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Fantasy

Something, such as an invention, that is a creation of the fancy.
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Imagination

One of these mental images
"some secret sense ... which ... took to itself and treasured up ... her thoughts, her imaginations, her desires" (Virginia Woolf).
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Fantasy

A capricious or fantastic idea; a conceit.
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Imagination

The mind viewed as the locus or repository of this ability or these images
"This story had been rattling around in my imagination for years" (Orson Scott Card).
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Fantasy

A genre of fiction or other artistic work characterized by fanciful or supernatural elements.
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Imagination

The ability to confront and deal with reality by using the creative power of the mind; resourcefulness
Handled the problems with great imagination.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

A work of this genre.
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Imagination

Attention, interest, or enthusiasm
An explorer's ordeal that caught the imagination of the public.
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Fantasy

An imagined event or sequence of mental images, such as a daydream, usually fulfilling a wish or psychological need.
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Imagination

The image-making power of the mind; the act of mentally creating or reproducing an object not previously perceived; the ability to create such images.
Imagination is one of the most advanced human faculties.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

An unrealistic or improbable supposition.
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Oct 19, 2023

Imagination

Particularly, construction of false images; fantasizing.
You think someone's been following you? That's just your imagination.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

(Music) See fantasia.
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Imagination

Creativity; resourcefulness.
His imagination makes him a valuable team member.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

A coin issued especially by a questionable authority and not intended for use as currency.
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Oct 19, 2023

Imagination

A mental image formed by the action of the imagination as a faculty; something imagined.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

(Obsolete) A hallucination.
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Oct 19, 2023

Imagination

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.
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.
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Fantasy

Relating to or being a game in which participants act as owners of imaginary sports teams whose personnel consists of actual players selected from a professional sports league and team performance is determined by the combined statistics of the players.
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Imagination

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."
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.
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.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

To imagine; visualize.
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Imagination

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 poetAre 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 forthThe forms of things unknown, the poet's penTurns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothingA local habitation and a name.
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Fantasy

That which comes from one's imagination.
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Imagination

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

(literature) The literary genre generally dealing with themes of magic and the supernatural, imaginary worlds and creatures, etc.
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Imagination

The formation of a mental image of something that is not perceived as real and is not present to the senses;
Popular imagination created a world of demons
Imagination reveals what the world could be
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

A fantastical design.
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Imagination

The ability to form mental images of things or events;
He could still hear her in his imagination
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Fantasy

(slang) The drug gamma-hydroxybutyric acid.
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Oct 19, 2023

Imagination

The ability to deal resourcefully with unusual problems;
A man of resource
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Fantasy

To fantasize (about).
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Fantasy

(obsolete) To have a fancy for; to be pleased with; to like.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

(transitive) To imagine; to conceive mentally.
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Fantasy

Fancy; imagination; especially, a whimsical or fanciful conception; a vagary of the imagination; whim; caprice; humor.
Is not this something more than fantasy ?
A thousand fantasiesBegin to throng into my memory.
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Fantasy

Fantastic designs.
Embroidered with fantasies and flourishes of gold thread.
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

To have a fancy for; to be pleased with; to like; to fancy.
Which he doth most fantasy.
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Fantasy

Imagination unrestricted by reality;
A schoolgirl fantasy
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Fantasy

Fiction with a large amount of fantasy in it;
She made a lot of money writing romantic fantasies
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Oct 19, 2023

Fantasy

Something many people believe that is false;
They have the illusion that I am very wealthy
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Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

How does imagination help in problem-solving?

Imagination allows for envisioning multiple solutions and approaches to a problem.
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Nov 25, 2023

Is fantasy always fictional?

Typically, yes, fantasy involves elements that are fictional or beyond real-world possibilities.
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Nov 25, 2023

Can imagination lead to real-world inventions?

Absolutely, many inventions start as imaginative ideas.
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Nov 25, 2023

What is imagination?

Imagination is the ability to form mental images or ideas that are not currently perceived through the senses.
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Nov 25, 2023

What is fantasy?

Fantasy refers to creating imaginative and fanciful ideas, often unrealistic and detached from the real world.
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Nov 25, 2023

Can imagination be realistic?

Yes, imagination can be both realistic and fantastical.
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Is imaginative thinking a skill that can be developed?

Yes, imaginative thinking can be nurtured and developed through practice and exposure to diverse ideas.
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Nov 25, 2023

Is fantasy a genre in literature?

Yes, fantasy is a popular genre in literature, known for its magical and supernatural elements.
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Nov 25, 2023

Are fantasy stories always set in fictional worlds?

Often, but not always. Some fantasy stories blend real-world settings with fantastical elements.
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Nov 25, 2023

Are fantasies just for children?

No, fantasies are enjoyed by people of all ages.
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Nov 25, 2023

Are all fantasies impossible?

While fantasies often include elements that are impossible, some can be metaphorical or symbolically possible.
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Nov 25, 2023

Can fantasy influence culture?

Yes, fantasy stories and ideas can have a significant cultural impact.
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Nov 25, 2023

Does imagination only apply to visuals?

No, imagination can involve all senses, emotions, and abstract concepts.
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Nov 25, 2023

How does imagination affect emotional health?

A healthy imagination can positively impact emotional health by providing a creative outlet and reducing stress.
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Nov 25, 2023

Do artists use imagination?

Yes, artists heavily rely on imagination for creativity and expression.
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Nov 25, 2023

Do fantasies have to involve magic?

Magic is common in fantasies, but it's not a necessary element.
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Nov 25, 2023

Can imagination be a form of escapism?

Yes, imagination can be used as a healthy form of escapism.
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Nov 25, 2023

Is fantasy beneficial for mental health?

Engaging in fantasies can be beneficial, as it allows for creativity and mental relaxation.
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Nov 25, 2023

Do fantasies have to be elaborate?

Not necessarily, fantasies can range from simple daydreams to complex, detailed worlds.
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Nov 25, 2023

Is imagination important in education?

Imagination is crucial in education for fostering creativity, critical thinking, and innovation.
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Nov 25, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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