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I recently found myself in a situation where I wanted to use a line that went something like this:

"...we must examine the effects these ideas had on their respective creators..."

and I just couldn't find the right word in place of "creators". Something feels off about "creators". We don't create thoughts we have thoughts or we think thoughts. "Owners" doesn't really work as no one can "own" a thought, and "thinkers" sounds too childish.

What other words are there that describe "the person who came up with an idea"?

  • originators, progenitors? – Dan Bron Apr 4 '16 at 13:01
  • @DanBron originator might work, though I always thought a progenitor was more like an ancestor? – user3002473 Apr 4 '16 at 13:03
  • @user3002473 How about "brainstormer"? dictionary.com/browse/brainstormer – Elian Apr 4 '16 at 14:00
  • a proponent is not quite the same as the originator of an idea, but certainly proponents can be thought of advocating it, or "owning" it in some loose sense. – Brad Apr 5 '16 at 18:36
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to conceive (verb):

Defn. 2 - Form or devise (a plan or idea) in the mind

"the dam project was originally conceived in 1977"

Derived noun forms include conceiver or conceptor

Source: ODO

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  • @user3002473 you're very welcome and thanks! – Julie Carter Apr 4 '16 at 13:28
  • 2
    Personally if i read "we must examine the effects these ideas had on their respective conceptors" I would be confused. To me, "creators" is fine. This may just be because i've never encountered the word "conceptor" before. Sometimes, just being in the dictionary doesn't make something the right choice - you need to consider your audience too., – Max Williams Apr 4 '16 at 13:32
  • I personally would use "conceiver" over "conceptor", even though the latter has a closer dictionary meaning to what the OP wants. "conceiving an idea" is a fairly well-known expression. – insanity Apr 4 '16 at 13:39
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"...the effects on those who brought forth these ideas must be examined..."

bring forth
1. To give rise to; produce: plants bringing forth fruit.
2. To give birth to (young).

brought forth. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved April 4 2016 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/brought+forth

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originator (from origin: the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived)

a person who creates or initiates something. "Wegener was the originator of the theory of continental drift" –Google

"...we must examine the effects these ideas had on their respective originators..."

Here's an Ngram showing conceptor in its non-existence up against originator. Interestingly, only recently has brought forth been surpassed by originator.


As per the title, the "owner" of an IP (intellectual property) is generally referred to as, the holder. However, the average person is more likely to encounter a holder that is using plaintiff as their moniker.

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