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

Having those superstars be 42 and 48 years old, respectively, is not ideal. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "FORE Questions: Breaking Down the New PGA Tour Schedule," 12 July 2018 In such fickle conditions, the mule is ideal: airy enough, but with ample protection from the occasional chill. SFChronicle.com, "25 ways to chase your perfect Bay Area summer," 11 July 2018 In a sport that allows only three substitutions, having to burn two early isn't ideal. Kevin Johnston, Indianapolis Star, "Hammy tweaks, tired legs not enough to slow Indy Eleven in comeback win," 7 July 2018 This isn’t ideal for belay slaves who spend hours at attention while their partners work a project and milk every hanging rest. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "Testing Wild Country's Revo Belay Device," 2 July 2018 The weather conditions for Sunday’s race were not ideal. Hallie Detrick, Fortune, "Volkswagen Just Set a New Record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—In an Electric Car," 25 June 2018 Fox is not a proficient 3-point shooter, so asking him to play off the ball isn't ideal. Jason Jones, sacbee, "Is Luka Doncic worth the risk? Why the Kings might be best equipped to make that call," 15 June 2018 But going 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranding 10 runners on base isn’t ideal for a comeback. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Felix Hernandez only lasts three innings in Mariners’ loss to Tampa Bay," 10 June 2018 Is hauling yourself into the shower and inspecting basically every inch of your skin an ideal way to decompress after spending time with Mother Nature? Kate Sheridan, SELF, "Here’s Exactly What to Do if a Tick Bites You," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The heavy blade and handle make this one ideal for cutting tough ingredients like raw vegetables or squash. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "The Best Affordable Chef's Knives and How to Keep Them Sharp," 8 July 2018 Completed this year, the multilevel residence is outfitted with a wine bar, a game room and other amenities to create a space ideal for leisure and play. Neal J. Leitereg, latimes.com, "Home of the Week: Beverly Hills contemporary caters to a leisurely lifestyle," 7 July 2018 Most climate scientists are predicting that temperatures in New England will continue to climb gradually, producing warmer and wetter conditions ideal for mosquitoes. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Report: Climate Change Increasing Connecticut's Risk For Mosquito-Borne Disease," 6 June 2018 Those little hooks will soon grow into formidable weapons — ideal for dining on fellow avians — from pigeons and ducks to songbirds and hummingbirds. Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, "For baby raptors, cuddly names may not fly — UC seeks suggestions," 24 May 2018 Friday afternoon across much of southeast Michigan and the Thumb area, the breezy front passed quickly, leaving balmy weather ideal for making fast repairs, a DTE Energy spokeswoman said Saturday. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "DTE makes fast progress but 190,000 customers still without power," 5 May 2018 But for Sommers, dignity is a cold and abstract ideal, incapable of motivating people to actually struggle against injustice. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "Does Honor Matter?," 3 June 2018 The finish is natural and glowy, with a sheer but buildable hydrating formula ideal for layering. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dior Launched A Less-Expensive Beauty Line Called Backstage—We Have All the Details," 29 May 2018 The site is believed to house three tunnel complexes surrounded by granite bedrock ideal for containing large explosions. Fortune, "Why Closing North Korea's Test Site Won't Hinder Kim Jong Un's Nuke Plans," 15 May 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

10 Sep 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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