Definition of thinking in US English:



  • 1The process of using one's mind to consider or reason about something.

    ‘they have done some thinking about welfare reform’
    • ‘The Mars missions show the power of preconceived ideas to cloud our thinking.’
    • ‘Clear thinking, good ideas and listening to what customers want are the core elements.’
    • ‘Leadership, strategic thinking and motivation are considered to be the key qualities of an effective CEO.’
    • ‘They are best developed through regular exposure to assignments that are process oriented and that require critical thinking.’
    • ‘But does this line of thinking mean that we should all live in cities?’
    • ‘In the process, they'll learn about generating ideas and stimulating creative thinking.’
    • ‘The strongest evidence of thinking along these lines appears in 1938.’
    • ‘Most importantly, the lessons of these recent experiences also have greatly contributed to our current strategic thinking.’
    • ‘Why have these discredited ways of thinking become so influential once again?’
    • ‘This thinking reflects a new development in British universities.’
    • ‘Make voting more accessible, the thinking goes, and more citizens will vote.’
    • ‘Such offences, so the thinking goes, are of a lesser order and should not stigmatize violators.’
    • ‘The declines in stock prices are the result of foreigners selling Japan short, this thinking goes.’
    • ‘Yet the late 1980s and early 1990s have also seen the return of ideas based on mercantilist thinking.’
    • ‘It is time for some imaginative thinking - new ideas for making public services work better for those who need them most.’
    • ‘In reality, analytical and intuitive thinking support and complete each other.’
    • ‘Logical thinking works to your great advantage in most instances.’
    • ‘In debate about law, we are used to the idea that legal thinking is objective and that law applies to everyone.’
    • ‘Isn't it technology, for example, which makes new ways of thinking, new ideas and paradigms, possible?’
    • ‘He thought that he could discover truth by deductive thinking in mathematical terms alone.’
    1. 1.1 A person's ideas or opinions.
      ‘his thinking is reflected in his later autobiography’
      • ‘I think these are over-inflated ideas, and my thinking comes out of working with depressed people.’
      • ‘Can you tell us something about these experiences and how they shaped your thinking?’
      • ‘My thinking on this topic has been influenced by stimulating discussions that I have had with social scientists.’
      • ‘Our thinking can reflect the systems and values of the world to the extent that we are controlled by them.’
      • ‘Philip's rhetoric was also existential, and it strongly influenced my thinking.’
      • ‘Lincoln knew that the words people habituated themselves to use would influence their thinking.’
      • ‘I'm going to loft an idea here and I don't want to prejudice your thinking by blurting out any names.’
      • ‘There are other, more objective factors that will doubtless be shaping his thinking.’
      • ‘My thinking has evolved since I wrote the book.’
      • ‘The observation that stimulated my thinking on this topic was of a humble grammatical phenomenon.’
      • ‘Their thinking, ideas, and aspirations should be a part of the planning exercise for their city.’
      • ‘He also gave police an insight into his thinking, ideas that led him to set the bush alight.’
      • ‘I have no idea what their thinking is at this moment in time other than by reading their own public utterances.’
      • ‘Well, this is the director's view of the world, and it obviously reflects his thinking accurately.’
      • ‘The harder question is how much she influences his thinking and his decisions.’
      • ‘What works, preferably those that can be accessed online, helped shape your thinking?’
      • ‘One of my posts is not the sum totality of my thinking on the subject.’
      • ‘Four of the statements were about issues that dominated his thinking at the time and were highly emotional.’
      • ‘Thank you for taking the time to write the essay, pointing out his short-sighted thinking.’
      • ‘It is my sincere hope that our readers will find many new perspectives and ideas to challenge their thinking.’
      reasoning, idea, ideas, theory, thoughts, line of thought, philosophy, beliefs
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2thinkingsarchaic Thoughts; meditations.


  • attributive Using thought or rational judgment; intelligent.

    ‘he seemed to be a thinking man’
    • ‘Turning children at the threshold of their teens into rational thinking beings is clearly not their credo.’
    • ‘She is the thinking pop lover's solution to overplayed and overdone artists.’
    • ‘No thinking person, with or without faith, can in contemporary life evade this struggle.’
    • ‘Any thinking person must realise what is happening is wrong.’
    • ‘Greta, you strike me and always have, as a very rational, articulate woman, a thinking woman.’
    • ‘A production that exudes class from the cast to the slick set changes, Cinderella is this year's thinking kid's pantomime.’
    • ‘This is an insult to educated and rational thinking people of this nation.’
    • ‘It insults the intelligence of clear thinking peoples and plays to the hearts and minds of the weak.’
    • ‘Paradoxically it is the educated and thinking class that remains the greatest defaulter when it comes to voting leaders in or out.’
    • ‘I believe that many thinking people will come back to the Democrats.’
    • ‘We all know that he isn't his strongest in a debate, but should that matter to thinking people?’
    • ‘When my boy grows to become a thinking person, with conscience and sensibility, am I the man I want him to see me as?’
    • ‘It is an example that must be so frightening to any thinking Frenchman.’
    • ‘He has become a much larger, deeper thinking man, even though nothing about him has changed but the script.’
    • ‘It is a play for a thinking audience prepared to be confronted.’
    • ‘He is such a natural goalscorer that he is the thinking man's choice.’
    • ‘But surely, you might say, she is an intelligent woman, the thinking man's posh totty.’
    intelligent, sensible, reasonable, rational, reasoning
    View synonyms


  • good (or nice) thinking

    • Used as an expression of approval for an ingenious plan, explanation, or observation.

      • ‘However, his great stroke of genius was the lateral thinking he employed when he decided to use the same principle on a larger scale, on a different surface, thus inventing the lawn mower. Good thinking, huh?’
      • ‘That was good thinking, Doc - I wish I could go to sleep in three seconds all the time!’
      • ‘The first thing to remember is that while allowing employees to have some fun is good thinking, everyone needs to remember that they call it work for a reason - it's work, not play, despite the great weather.’
      • ‘And Rick, good thinking with the coffee!’
      • ‘Now that's good thinking, but still not very heroic.’
      • ‘It was good thinking, except I'd forgotten it was Tuesday and, on Tuesdays, the Post Office in Spilsby shuts at midday.’
      • ‘Oh, good thinking Dannie - I so don't have enough napkins.’
      • ‘But good thinking, Dean, others may agree with you.’
      • ‘That was good thinking; he wouldn't be able to pin me to Paul then.’
  • put on one's thinking cap

    • informal Meditate on a problem.

      • ‘I've watched it several times over the years when I don't want to put on my thinking cap.’
      • ‘Settle into a comfy chair, get out your notebook, and put on your thinking cap.’
      • ‘Now go put on your thinking cap, ration yourself thirty minutes for a little intellectual playtime, and read the whole thing.’
      • ‘This play may not be for the faint of heart - be prepared to put on your thinking cap and engage it head-on.’
      • ‘Okay, keep going, put on your thinking cap and see what pops up.’
      • ‘Alright, put on your thinking cap and let's go.’
      • ‘So now I'm actually going to have to put on my thinking cap.’
      • ‘It all comes down to two simple facts, both of which were obvious from the beginning to anyone who would bother to put on their thinking cap.’