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

Texas is hot and humid, which is not ideal for mining, because the computers require cooling; energy prices are about average for the US. Mark Dent, WIRED, "The Hard-Luck Texas Town That Bet on Bitcoin—and Lost," 11 July 2019 When this leaves, there will be other s— that isn’t ideal to deal with either. Aurelie Corinthios, PEOPLE.com, "Jersey Shore: Ronnie Ortiz-Magro Claims He 'Got Beat Up' the Night Before Mike's Sentencing," 11 July 2019 Cons: The Red Devils could get caught up in a bidding war for Fernandes, which certainly isn't ideal. SI.com, "Man Utd Targets: Comparing the Red Devils' Midfield Options," 9 July 2019 Audio offerings live up to the app’s name, but the lack of structure isn’t ideal for tackling a specific issue. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "Feeling Anxious? So Is Everyone Else. This Guide Will Help.," 8 July 2019 Laundromats, where families often spend an hour or two at a time waiting around, are also an ideal location for ensnaring children’s attention. New York Times, "Want Kids to Learn the Joy of Reading? Barbershops and Laundromats Can Help," 2 July 2019 Acreage Holdings, a large U.S. cannabis business with a stock-market value of $1.8 billion, has growing facilities in several northern states that aren’t ideal for growing. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Cannabis Investors Are Zoning Out About Supply," 27 June 2019 Keep in mind that while families are welcome, the property’s many steps and rocky shores are not ideal for little ones or guests with limited mobility. Alisha Prakash, USA TODAY, "9 remote resorts in Thailand: Luxurious seclusion for when you want to get lost," 20 June 2019 Even dads who relentlessly insist on socks in every sandal will admit that flip flop toe wedgies aren’t ideal. Simona Matovic, al.com, "Fun beer-inspired gifts for Father’s Day," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As Eliza and Angelica Schuyler, Julia K. Harriman and Sabrina Sloan seem to find and illuminate each note’s Platonic ideal. SFChronicle.com, "Theater listings," 18 June 2019 But the cause of religious freedom, which is one of America’s founding ideals, has mutated ideologically in odd ways. The Economist, "The gripping case of Scott Warren," 14 June 2019 But given the reality that there are oppressive systems and hegemonies of power currently in place that enforce narrow gender expectations and beauty ideals, undergoing FFS was the right choice for me. Serena Daniari, Allure, "The Complicated Process of Undergoing Facial-Feminization Surgery, and Why I Did It," 23 Mar. 2019 That system was what could be called the liberal ideal, constructed around representative democracy, human rights, and free-market capitalism complemented by a strong social safety net. Robert Darnton, The New York Review of Books, "David A. Bell," 17 Jan. 2019 The revolutionary ideals of freedom and equality that flowered in Virginia had become twisted and gnarled. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, "Virginia debated ending slavery after Nat Turner’s revolt," 14 June 2019 Both Samuels and Myers earned this league honor after winning the James H. Kehoe Awards at the 2019 Terp Awards, given to one male and female student-athlete who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore-area sports new: Laurel Park hosting early post time on Saturday for Belmont," 6 June 2019 That limitation—also found in competitors such as Siri and Google Assistant—has hampered the ideal of virtual helpers serving as omni-capable butlers. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Dinner and a Movie? Amazon Alexa Makes It Easier to Do Both," 5 June 2019 The defeat of the American ideal of integration and assimilation by diversity and identity politics leads to social outcomes exactly as Messrs. Wood and Pierre describe. WSJ, "Separate but Equal on American Campuses," 5 May 2019

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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Statistics for ideal

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ideal

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

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More Definitions for ideal

ideal

adjective

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ideal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on ideal

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