When my six year old grandson comes over to visit, he spends a lot of time playing. He runs, jumps, and bounces. He kicks, lunges, and swings various limbs. He lands, tumbles, rolls, and repeats. He hops from chair arm to ottoman to sofa cushion, over and back again. He talks when he’s playing–giving orders, shouting commands, and there are plenty of sound effects, too.
If you ask him what he’s doing, he states matter-of-factly, “I’m imaginating.”
What a great word!
He doesn’t even know he’s combined “imagine” and “creating”, but I do, and that makes me sproud! Super proud!
Shakespeare is credited with introducing at least 1,700 words into the English language, things we still say today. He took creative liberties by combining words, adding prefixes, suffixes, or both, and changing nouns into verbs (hello, all you folks proudly adulting, ahem, Shakespeare beat you to the verbing thing). I was surprised to learn that the word ‘imaginate’ predates Shakespeare and is accredited to poet and translator, John Bellenden (1495–1548). Now that I’m familiar, I think we should introduce it into contemporary conversation.
Consider the difference in their meanings:
Imagine: (v) form a mental image or concept of; suppose or assume
Imaginate: (n) imagined; imaginary; (v) to create imaginatively
Do you recognize the distinction? Subtle, but important.
Imaginate is active–to create imaginatively.
Create imaginatively all the people living for today.
Create imaginatively all the people living life in peace.
Imaginate all the people sharing all the world.
I’m just sayin’.
It’s easy if you try.