ideal

adjective
ide·​al | \ ī-ˈdē(-ə)l How to pronounce ideal (audio) , ˈī-ˌdē(-ə)l \

Definition of ideal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or embodying an ideal ideal beauty
b : conforming exactly to an ideal, law, or standard : perfect an ideal gas — compare real sense 1c(3)
2a : 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 : of or relating to philosophical idealism
4 : existing as an archetypal idea

ideal

noun

Definition of ideal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence
2 : one regarded as exemplifying an ideal and often taken as a model for imitation
3 : an ultimate object or aim of endeavor : goal
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

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Other Words from ideal

Noun

idealless \ ī-​ˈdē(-​ə)l-​ləs How to pronounce idealless (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for ideal

Noun

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

Examples of ideal in a Sentence

Adjective It was an ideal spot for a vacation. She is an ideal candidate for the job. The conference provided us with an ideal opportunity to meet new people. Noun an ideal of romantic love He hasn't lived up to his high ideals. She considers the actress her ideal.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective With everyone scrambling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, businesses and employees are operating under less-than-ideal conditions. Karla L. Miller, Washington Post, "Back at work, but facing a 25 percent pay cut," 9 July 2020 Even with the less-than-ideal circumstances surrounding Ford's birth, Silva couldn't be happier with how her life has changed. Lena Hansen, PEOPLE.com, "Univision TV Host Pamela Silva on Giving Birth Mid-Pandemic, Starting a New Chapter in Her Life," 1 July 2020 Plus, the adjustable headband and padded headphones boast optimal comfort for listeners, which is ideal for any student. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Here's how students can get a free pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones at Best Buy," 13 July 2020 Programs include: Strength and Balance which is ideal for participants ages 50 and older and incorporates stretching, balance, agility, strength and cardio, along with music. cleveland, "Avon Brewing Company Presents ZZ’s Big Top set to open July 18: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 10 July 2020 Los Angeles to Hermosa Beach, California Just a few miles away on the coast, the town of Hermosa Beach is ideal for a budget-conscious getaway. Travel + Leisure, "8 Affordable Weekend Getaways Around the U.S.," 10 July 2020 Inexpensive yet comfortable, these soft sheets are ideal for travel. Lindsay Tigar, CNN Underscored, "Everything you need to go on the safest road trip possible," 9 July 2020 Shoppers say the smallest wedges are ideal for issues like acid reflux, while the larger picks are great for neck or shoulder pain. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "This Pillow Wedge Is a Go-To for Anyone With Sleep Apnea, Acid Reflux, or Back Pain—and It’s on Sale," 7 July 2020 That would be ideal for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who’s faced with mitigating the increase of coronavirus cases as more residents are going back to work, eating at restaurants, shopping at stores and congregating for leisure activities. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott needs your help to beat the coronavirus: Wear a mask," 6 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most Americans still hew to that classical liberal ideal as do many of those who marched with justified anger over the killing of Mr Floyd. The Economist, "Tackling racism The new ideology of race," 9 July 2020 The wide and shallow waters surrounding the Cook Islands makes this South Pacific destination ideal for beach lovers and snorkeling enthusiasts. Kendall Cornish, Travel + Leisure, "These Are the 25 Most Romantic Islands in the World, According to Travelers," 8 July 2020 At its core, the movie is too in love with love — or at least its messy, time-jumping ideal of it — for that kind of true discomfort comedy. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Andy Samberg gets weird in breezy existential romance Palm Springs: Review," 8 July 2020 But those fireworks didn’t stem from an ideal pairing between track and car. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Despite action-packed Brickyard 400, questions still loom for NASCAR on IMS oval," 6 July 2020 There’s also an accessory rack built into the door that can hold scarves and ties, and a shelf ideal for items that can’t be hung, such as hats, sweaters, and toys. Rachel King, Fortune, "Samsung made a closet that disinfects your clothes," 6 July 2020 Johnson accepted a role far from ideal on a personal level. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Former Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Johnson ideal fit in Brooklyn," 25 June 2020 Soon, the girlboss ideal became a template for marketing and writing about powerful women in virtually every industry. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "What Comes After the Girlboss?," 25 June 2020 Slides are a summertime staple (easy to put on and easy to take off = ideal for beach and poolside wear). Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "13 Amazon deals on summer 2020’s trendiest shoes: Crocs, Adidas, and more," 24 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ideal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ideal

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ideal

Adjective

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

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Time Traveler for ideal

Time Traveler

The first known use of ideal was in the 15th century

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Statistics for ideal

Last Updated

31 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ideal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ideal. Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for ideal

ideal

adjective
How to pronounce ideal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ideal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

ideal

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ideal (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

ideal

adjective
ide·​al | \ ī-ˈdē-əl How to pronounce ideal (audio) \

Kids Definition of ideal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having no flaw : perfect ideal weather

Other Words from ideal

ideally adverb

ideal

noun

Kids Definition of ideal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence He couldn't live up to his own ideals.
2 : someone who deserves to be imitated or admired She considered the older woman her ideal.

ideal

adjective
ide·​al | \ ī-ˈdē(-ə)l How to pronounce ideal (audio) , ˈī-ˌ How to pronounce ideal (audio) \

Medical Definition of ideal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : existing as an archetypal idea
2a : existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only
b : relating to or constituting mental images, ideas, or conceptions

ideal

noun

Medical Definition of ideal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence self-criticism and the formation of ideals are…the essential manifestations of the superego— G. S. Blum

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More from Merriam-Webster on ideal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ideal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ideal

Spanish Central: Translation of ideal

Nglish: Translation of ideal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ideal for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ideal

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