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

In terms of trendsetting, a down-to-there blowout is ideal for heat wave days and balmy evenings out. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Selena Gomez’s Latest Hair Transformation Is Proof She’s Just Fine, Thank You," 10 July 2018 Her new Fenty Beauty Moroccan Spice Eyeshadow Palette has 16 shades in mattes, pearls and metallics that are ideal for warm summer nights. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Packing the ultimate weekender: Our favorite products for your carry-on or beach bag," 9 July 2018 So do the imposing government buildings that frame large plazas ideal for such events as last month’s Pride festivities. John King, SFChronicle.com, "Civic Center makeover: Here’s the plan to revamp the heart of SF," 29 June 2018 The driving range has both mats and grass, including a covered section ideal for adverse weather conditions. Brent Kennedy, The Aegis, "Mountain Branch Golf Club," 22 June 2018 Ficker said Oakbrook has an abundance of large one-story houses, ideal for adult family homes. Walker Orenstein, The Seattle Times, "Lakewood moves to stop release of some Western State Hospital psychiatric patients within its borders," 28 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many of Serena Joy Waterford’s (Yvonne Strahovski) firebrand conservative ideals stand as the bedrock of Gilead. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid’s Tale," 13 July 2018 Once, the United States claimed egalitarianism as a central ideal. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Donald Trump, Meghan Markle, and America’s enduring obsession with the British royals," 12 July 2018 True to the ideal that power should be dispersed, the constitution makes the drawing of districts for House elections a matter for the states. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 But movement conservatism — like its left-wing sibling — is a major threat to democratic ideals. Cass Sunstein, star-telegram, "Does Trump's Supreme Court nominee have a personal political agenda?," 10 July 2018 Natalie Portman has been vegan for almost a decade, and most of that time has been spent trying to find her platonic ideal of vegan ice cream. Alyse Whitney, Bon Appetit, "Natalie Portman’s Food Philosophies Mostly Involve Vegan Ice Cream," 22 June 2018 For hundreds of thousands of women from all walks of life, the pageant’s influence on beauty ideals, while nowhere near perfect (considering the limited range of body types), was and remains mind-boggling powerful. Nancy Redd, Glamour, "I Won the Miss America Swimsuit Competition, but I Couldn’t Be Happier It’s Canceled," 12 June 2018 Built on an 800-year-old lava flow just a 20-minute drive from Keflavik Airport, the Retreat Hotel—which just opened in April 2018—is an ideal first or last stop on a trip through Iceland. Lyndsey Matthews, Town & Country, "See Inside the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland, the Blue Lagoon's First Five-Star Hotel," 11 June 2018 But amid a cacophony of available media and a partisan climate filled with angry, divisive voices, the ideals that Rogers espoused about TV being a tool to help foster a sense of community appear sadly quaint, and perhaps outdated. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Mr. Rogers doc 'Wont You Be My Neighbor?' feels right for our less-than-neighborly times," 8 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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Statistics for ideal

Last Updated

5 Nov 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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