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What an idea vs What’s the idea

what an idea

1. that’s a great idea:

  • They don’t fit very well under the Christmas tree, but what an idea for that perfect gift!

2. that’s preposterous; that’s most unreasonable:

  • Pa looked at ma stunned. Good heavens what an idea!

what’s the idea —(also: what’s the big idea) what’s the intention or purpose (is usually used to question smth. that is not welcome):

  • What’s the idea behind creating a game that’s part way between Australian Rules football and Gaelic football.