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adjective ide·al \ī-ˈdē(-ə)l, ˈī-ˌ\

Simple Definition of ideal

  • : exactly right for a particular purpose, situation, or person

Full Definition of ideal

  1. 1 :  existing as an archetypal idea

  2. 2 a :  existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only; broadly :  lacking practicality b :  relating to or constituting mental images, ideas, or conceptions

  3. 3 a :  of, relating to, or embodying an ideal <ideal beauty> b :  conforming exactly to an ideal, law, or standard :  perfect <an ideal gas> — compare real 2b(3)

  4. 4 :  of or relating to philosophical idealism

Examples of ideal

  1. It was an ideal spot for a vacation.

  2. She is an ideal candidate for the job.

  3. The conference provided us with an ideal opportunity to meet new people.

Origin of ideal

Middle English ydeall, from Late Latin idealis, from Latin idea

First Known Use: 15th century



noun ide·al

Simple Definition of ideal

  • : an idea or standard of perfection or excellence

  • : someone or something that is believed to be perfect : someone or something that you admire and want to imitate

Full Definition of ideal

  1. 1 :  a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence

  2. 2 :  one regarded as exemplifying an ideal and often taken as a model for imitation

  3. 3 :  an ultimate object or aim of endeavor :  goal

  4. 4 :  a subset of a mathematical ring that is closed under addition and subtraction and contains the products of any given element of the subset with each element of the ring

ide·al·less play \ī-ˈdē(-ə)l-ləs\ adjective

Examples of ideal

  1. an ideal of romantic love

  2. He hasn't lived up to his high ideals.

  3. She considers the actress her ideal.

15th Century

First Known Use of ideal

15th century

Synonym Discussion of ideal

model, example, pattern, exemplar, ideal mean someone or something set before one for guidance or imitation. model applies to something taken or proposed as worthy of imitation <a decor that is a model of good taste>. example applies to a person to be imitated or in some contexts on no account to be imitated but to be regarded as a warning <children tend to follow the example of their parents>. pattern suggests a clear and detailed archetype or prototype <American industry set a pattern for others to follow>. exemplar suggests either a faultless example to be emulated or a perfect typification <cited Joan of Arc as the exemplar of courage>. ideal implies the best possible exemplification either in reality or in conception <never found a job that matched his ideal>.

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February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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