leap to mind: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘leap to mind’ mean?

When something *leaps to mind*, it means that an idea or thought quickly springs into one's consciousness without much effort. It indicates an instant and obvious association with a particular topic or situation.

Idiom Explorer

Mental Acrobatics

"Leap to mind" is a commonly used idiom that describes how a thought or idea quickly comes to one's mind without much effort. The phrase implies that this mental connection happens spontaneously and immediately, without conscious or deliberate thinking.

This idiom is often used when discussing a topic or trying to remember something, and suddenly a relevant thought or idea pops into your head. It emphasizes the speed and suddenness with which a particular thought appears in your mind.

For example, let's say you're having a conversation with a friend and you're trying to remember the name of a restaurant you went to last week. Suddenly, the name “Giovanni's” leaps to mind. This means that the thought of the restaurant's name came to you quickly and without conscious effort.

The word "leap" in this idiom conveys the idea of quickness and agility. It suggests that the thought or idea comes to mind immediately and instinctively, as if it has sprung forth spontaneously from within. The verb "leap" also implies a certain degree of surprise or excitement, as if the thought appeared suddenly, catching you off guard.

Similarly, when we talk about something "coming to mind," it means that a thought or idea has emerged from our thoughts and become consciously accessible. It's like retrieving a piece of information from the depths of your memory. This is similar to the idiom "come to mind," which is often used in situations where something suddenly occurs to you or you remember something.

A sudden thought came to mind in a leap.

For instance, if you're brainstorming ideas for a project and you suddenly remember a useful technique you learned in a previous job, you could say "Oh, 'break down complex tasks into smaller steps' just came to mind!" This means that the idea or memory of the technique suddenly occurred to you, without any deliberate thinking.

Similarly, the idiom "come to think of it" is used when a thought or idea occurs to you as you are speaking or thinking about something. It's like having a realization or making a mental connection in the middle of a conversation or thought process.

For example, if you're talking about your plans for the weekend and you suddenly remember that your friend mentioned a new movie that you might be interested in, you could say "Come to think of it, my friend mentioned a new movie. Maybe we can go see it together!" This means that the thought of the movie and the idea of watching it with your friend occurred to you as you were speaking about your plans.

The idiom "come to mention it" is a variation of "come to think of it" and is used when something occurs to you as you're mentioning or discussing a topic. It's like having a thought or idea while you're actively engaged in a conversation or dialogue.

For instance, if you're talking about your favorite restaurants in town and you suddenly remember a new Italian place that you tried last month, you could say "Come to mention it, I tried this amazing Italian restaurant called Giovanni's. You should definitely check it out!" This means that the thought of the restaurant and the idea of recommending it came to you while you were mentioning the topic of favorite restaurants.

The idiom "leap to mind" describes a rapid and instinctive thought process where a thought or idea quickly comes to your mind without conscious effort. It highlights the spontaneity and unpredictability of mental connections and associations. Similarly, related idioms like "come to mind," "come to think of it," and "come to mention it" convey similar ideas of thoughts and ideas occurring quickly and spontaneously. Our minds have the ability to make these swift connections and associations, sometimes surprising us with the thoughts and ideas that leap to mind.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *leap to mind* can be used in a sentence:

  1. When asked about her favorite book, Jane's answer leapt to mind immediately: "To Kill a Mockingbird."
  2. As the team brainstormed ideas for the new advertising campaign, several creative concepts leapt to mind right away.
  3. When trying to recall the name of the actor, it took me a moment, but then it leapt to mind - it was Tom Hanks.

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