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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Still, what works for one person may not be ideal for another. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Kristen Bell Fainted While Trying to Remove a Menstrual Cup," 1 Nov. 2018 Month Thanks in large part to Australia’s captivating native botanicals, the local gin scene is stealthily becoming one of the world’s most exciting drinks movements, and Brogan’s Way, in semi-industrial Richmond, is the ideal place to find out why. Dan F. Stapleton, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Melbourne in October 2018," 26 Sep. 2018 An update of the brand's classic Pigeon shade, this traditional hue is ideal for modern spaces with natural elements. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "Farrow & Ball Releases Nine Gorgeous New Paint Colors," 21 Sep. 2018 The frozen treats are ideal for the dog days of summer or unseasonably warm fall weather. Stephanie Eckelkamp, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Homemade Frozen 'Pupsicle' Treats for Your Special Pooch," 29 Aug. 2018 The combination of a penchant for compromising behavior, a willingness to work closely with criminals, and a desire to protect aspects of his privacy makes him the ideal blackmail target. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 Facebook would rather ask for forgiveness than permission Facebook’s behavior over the years has exhibited a specific pattern of doing the less-than-ideal thing in the moment and then apologizing for it later. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Facebook won’t fix itself," 15 Nov. 2018 As our review indicated, the Surface Go form factor is ideal for trains and some airplanes, making it a solid choice for everyday commuters. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft adds LTE options to the Surface Go, making it the always-connected PC it should be," 13 Nov. 2018 This led Google to acknowledge that the prominence of white across its own apps and within Android’s style guidelines is, well, less than ideal. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Google confirms dark mode is a huge help for battery life on Android," 8 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The rooms are well-appointed, the location ideal for dining and winery tours, and the breakfast superb. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "Why Wine Lovers Flock to a Foggy Corner of Italy," 29 Nov. 2018 But transforming a subpar winter wardrobe into one ideal for frosted frolicking takes a bit of research and skill. Vogue, "Day 12: Embrace the Cold," 12 Nov. 2018 On a separate note, the balance of gentle exfoliation and hydration makes the products ideal for tackling other bumpy-skin issues. Sophie Wirt, Allure, "Exclusive: Dr. Pimple Popper Launches SLMD Skincare Body Smoothing System for Keratosis Pilaris," 22 Aug. 2018 This is eye candy for the design buff, ideal for browsing on a cold winter’s day. Ann Landi, WSJ, "What to Give: Books on Design," 15 Nov. 2018 The goal is to experience health and healing from our own autonomy, not from trying to achieve an ideal created by a mainstream that excludes and erases us. SELF, "How to Make Your Gym or Fitness Space More Inclusive and Welcoming for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People," 30 Oct. 2018 The compact design makes this filter ideal for apartments and small rooms. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Air Purifier for a Breath of Fresh Air," 16 Oct. 2018 And both the Republicans and the Democrats kept referring to 1986 and that as an ideal. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Silicon Valley congressman Ro Khanna explains his ‘internet bill of rights’," 6 Oct. 2018 Pillow shams are also an ideal option for making a big impact with minimal design risk. Lauren Hubbard, ELLE Decor, "The Best Bed Linens for Every Design Style," 18 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ideal

Statistics for ideal

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ideal

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up ideal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!