ideal

adjective
ide·al | \ī-ˈdē(-ə)l, 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 \ 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

While finding a big chunk of meteorite would be ideal, recovering even crumbs from the rock would be a triumph, since underwater work is so difficult. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "A Research Ship Is Hunting Meteorite Fragments Off the Coast of Washington," 4 July 2018 On top of that, the air quality is not going to be ideal. Fox News, "Former agent fires back at calls to abolish ICE," 30 June 2018 Looking back, mandolin player Mike Guggino said the timing to start working with Martin was ideal for his group. Alan Sculley, sacbee, "Steep Canyon Rangers find perfect timing – with Steve Martin on tour, in the studio," 29 June 2018 Adding soybean meal will make the resulting change a bit more lasting, so an equal mix of the two is ideal. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Plants starting to look a little crowded? Here’s how to thin them out," 28 June 2018 The length and athleticism to defend and shift that guard to the wing would be ideal, too. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Here's who makes the most sense for the Pacers in the NBA Draft," 19 June 2018 Surrounded by the lush tropical forest with soothing sounds of crashing waves, the Presidential Suite is ideal as a gathering space. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "The Best Room At...Andaz Costa Rica," 14 June 2018 What would be ideal, Anderson said, was if the school district created its own schools police force similar to the Miami-Dade and Palm Beach school districts. Colleen Wright, miamiherald, "Broward school system doesn't give police data on students in discipline program," 8 June 2018 The prevailing narrative is that school integration is not only ideal, but is an essential means to creating equal opportunity for all children. Preston Mitchum, The Root, "Brown v. Board of Education,," 17 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Photo: Getty Images Sweden’s maternity policies may be good for economic growth and egalitarian ideals, but not for the social or emotional health of young children. Erica Komisar, WSJ, "The Human Cost of Sweden’s Welfare State," 11 July 2018 This idea of cleansing society of immigrants marks the dismantling of higher ideals, pluralist values, and ethical standards. Amro Ali, Time, "Denmark’s “Ghetto” Policies Are an Ominous Sign That Liberal Europe Is Starting to Unravel at the Seams," 3 July 2018 All in all, this is a work with gobs of empathy for all, and this show even comes with a romantic belief that Chicago is the ideal, good-humored town of reconciliation. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago-set 'Support Group for Men' a chance to laugh at our current #MeToo moment," 2 July 2018 Though ideologies differ widely, many of the underlying values found in America’s religious are rooted in complementary, if not similar, ideals. Noelle Swan, The Christian Science Monitor, "The Monitor’s collaboration with the Energy Foundation," 29 June 2018 In church, teaching from the Bible, Mr. Jimmy becomes to his followers the purest distillation, then, of some post-presidency ideal, some secular saint. Michael Paterniti, GQ, "Jimmy Carter for Higher Office," 26 June 2018 Bourdain’s ideals reached beyond the food sector to industries outside of his own. Malaika Jabali, Glamour, "Why Anthony Bourdain’s Life Is a Lesson for White Men of Privilege on How to Be an Ally," 8 June 2018 This policy provided visual in addition to racial cohesion, tying domestic space to a mythic, democratic-colonial village ideal. Anthony Alofsin, The Atlantic, "A Defense of the Suburbs," 6 June 2018 The ideal of traditionalist right-wing movements — which include, but are not limited to, fascist movements — is a kind of transformation of a person’s individual life into a mythic story. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The religious hunger that drives Jordan Peterson’s fandom," 1 June 2018

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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Learn More about ideal

Phrases Related to ideal

far from ideal

Statistics for ideal

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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 \

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, ˈī-ˌ \

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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Comments on ideal

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