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(4)
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 ideal (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 The two-piece set includes a 10- and 12-inch frying pan, each with low sides that are ideal for easy spatula use. Laura Fisher, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Best Nonstick Pans for Every Type of Home Cook," 31 Mar. 2021 These lights are ideal for girls’ and teenagers’ bedrooms, DIY night lights or on the windowsill for a romantic hearty dinner. Maren Estrada, BGR, "Here are 10 hidden Amazon deals only Prime members can get," 31 Mar. 2021 With the renovation completed, Glickman said, the mansion is ideal for a family, especially one whose children plan to bring friends over once the pandemic concludes. Bob Goldsborough, chicagotribune.com, "Renovated Lincoln Park mansion listed for $4.25M," 29 Mar. 2021 The warehouse built in 2014 includes large coolers, which are ideal for storing vaccines in subzero conditions. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, "From empty shells to vaccination hubs: Why vast urban buildings can be essential in the pandemic," 29 Mar. 2021 About 25% of the nation's potato chips get their start in Michigan, where reliably cool air during September harvest and late spring has been ideal for crop storage. John Flesher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan farmers have crop storage problem as global warming brings higher temperatures," 26 Mar. 2021 This stove is ideal for both the first-time cook and the serious car-camping chef. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Camp Stoves For Cooking Up Feasts," 26 Mar. 2021 This multi-purpose tool is ideal for digging and breaking up stubborn soil and sand. oregonlive, "Tool libraries let you borrow what you need but you should always have these 10 gardening effort-savers," 26 Mar. 2021 Some locations are also ideal for exploring National Park Service sites like California's Frandy Park Campground near Sequoia National Forest and North Carolina's Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge & Resort near Nantahala National Forest. Jessica Poitevien, Travel + Leisure, "Travel Across 25 U.S. States and Stay in a Modern-day Oregon Trail-style Covered Wagon," 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The platonic ideal of a Lucille-ism comes in a flashback. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, "It’s an Appreciation of Jessica Walter as Lucille Bluth, What Could It Contain, 13 Best Moments?," 25 Mar. 2021 That gap between ideal and reality is what fosters burnout. Jonathan Malesic, The New Republic, "The Exaggeration of “Burnout” in America," 25 Mar. 2021 Like Vesuvio, the Royal Cuckoo has served food from neighboring restaurant Blue Plate in order to fulfill the safety guidelines, but Horne said that’s felt like a temporary and less-than-ideal solution. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Where bars, breweries and wineries are open right now in the Bay Area," 24 Mar. 2021 His artistic enshrinement of the notion of one true love transformed the monogamous ideal from a rule of religious faith to a secular and aestheticized substitute for it. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Looking Behind Éric Rohmer’s Cinematic Style," 24 Mar. 2021 Generations of Americans have rightly organized, marched, and died to defend that ideal and expand voting and civil rights to women and minorities—a story that continues to this day. Donna Owens, Essence, "Michelle Obama and Celebs Pen Open Letter About Fight for Voting Rights," 23 Mar. 2021 Just as toxic masculinity and aggressive misogyny persist, so does the original chivalric ideal of the warrior defending human life and freedom against tyranny and its thugs. Jennifer Wollock, The Conversation, "Chivalry is not about opening doors, but protecting society’s most vulnerable from attack," 23 Mar. 2021 Generally, our beauty influencers and advertisements shift only one of these categories — for example, a plus-size influencer will meet the ideal in all ways other than weight. New York Times, "The Beauty of 78.5 Million Followers," 23 Mar. 2021 Veteran right-hander César Valdez started the Orioles’ bullpen game Tuesday and showed the ideal for what a long reliever can accomplish. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles observations on Maikel Franco showing early progress, César Valdez’s value in relief and more | ANALYSIS," 23 Mar. 2021

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

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ideal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ideal. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on ideal

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