AskDefine | Define thoughtful

Dictionary Definition

thoughtful adj
1 having intellectual depth; "a deeply thoughtful essay"
2 exhibiting or characterized by careful thought; "a thoughtful paper" [ant: thoughtless]
3 acting with or showing thought and good sense; "a sensible young man" [syn: sensible]
4 taking heed; giving close and thoughtful attention; "heedful of the warnings"; "so heedful a writer"; "heedful of what they were doing" [syn: heedful, attentive] [ant: heedless]
5 showing consideration and anticipation of needs; "it was thoughtful of you to bring flowers"; "a neighbor showed thoughtful attention" [syn: kind]

User Contributed Dictionary



From thought + -ful



  1. Demonstrating thought or careful consideration.
    Most thoughtful people eventually solve the puzzle.
  2. Demonstrating kindness or consideration for others.
    Preparing dinner is a thoughtful gesture for a new mother.

Derived terms


Demonstrating thought or careful consideration
Demonstrating kindness or consideration for others

Extensive Definition

Thought and thinking are mental forms and processes, respectively ("thought" is both.) Thinking allows beings to model the world and to deal with it effectively according to their objectives, plans, ends and desires. Words referring to similar concepts and processes include cognition, sentience, consciousness, idea, and imagination.
Thinking involves the cerebral manipulation of information, as when we form concepts, engage in problem solving, reason and make decisions.
Thinking is a higher cognitive function and the analysis of thinking processes is part of cognitive psychology.

Basic process

The basic mechanics of the human brain cells reflect a process of pattern matching or rather recognition. In a "moment of reflection", new situations and new experiences are judged against recalled ones and judgements are made. In order to make these judgements, the intellect maintains present experience and sorts relevant past experience. It does this while keeping present and past experience distinct and separate. The intellect can mix, match, merge, sift, and sort concepts, perceptions, and experience. This process is called reasoning. Logic is the science of reasoning. The awareness of this process of reasoning is access consciousness (see philosopher Ned Block).

Aids to thinking

  1. Use of models, symbols, diagrams and pictures.
  2. Use of abstraction to simplify the effort of thinking.
  3. Use of metasyntactic variables to simplify the effort of naming.
  4. Use of iteration and recursion to converge on a concept.
  5. Limitation of attention to aid concentration and focus on a concept. Use of peace and quiet to aid concentration.
  6. Goal setting and goal revision. Simply letting the concept percolate in the subconscious, and waiting for the concept to re-surface.
  7. Talking with like-minded people. Resorting to communication with others, if this is allowed.
  8. Working backward from the goal.
  9. Desire for learning.
  10. Always be objective.


  1. Self-delusions: inability to confront relevant issues (roadblocks).
  2. Prejudice can lead to flawed thinking


  • Eric Baum (2004). What is Thought, Chapter Two: The Mind is a Computer Program. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-02548-5
thoughtful in Arabic: فكر
thoughtful in Catalan: Pensament
thoughtful in German: Denken
thoughtful in Estonian: Mõtlemine
thoughtful in Spanish: Pensamiento (mente)
thoughtful in Esperanto: Pensado
thoughtful in Persian: فكر
thoughtful in French: Pensée
thoughtful in Galician: Pensamento
thoughtful in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Pensamento
thoughtful in Indonesian: Pikiran
thoughtful in Italian: Pensiero
thoughtful in Icelandic: Hugsun
thoughtful in Hebrew: חשיבה
thoughtful in Latin: Cogitatio
thoughtful in Latvian: Domāšana
thoughtful in Lithuanian: Mintis
thoughtful in Hungarian: Szellem
thoughtful in Macedonian: Мисла
thoughtful in Dutch: Denken
thoughtful in Norwegian: Tenke
thoughtful in Japanese: 思考
thoughtful in Korean: 생각
thoughtful in Polish: Myślenie
thoughtful in Portuguese: Pensamento
thoughtful in Russian: Мышление (психология)
thoughtful in Albanian: Mendimi
thoughtful in Simple English: Thought
thoughtful in Serbian: Размишљање
thoughtful in Finnish: Ajattelu
thoughtful in Swedish: Tänkande
thoughtful in Turkish: Düşünce
thoughtful in Ukrainian: Думка
thoughtful in Yiddish: טראכטן
thoughtful in Chinese: 思维

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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