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(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 How to pronounce idealless (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 pipe is 20 inches in diameter, wide enough to allow all 80 guns to operate at full capacity during those crucial moments when conditions are ideal for most efficient snowmaking. John Laconte, The Know, "Vail’s opening day provides blueprint for Vail Resorts’ sustainability efforts," 15 Nov. 2019 This recipe was an example of how the actual instructions aren’t always ideal, either. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Turn back-of-the-package recipes into a memorable Thanksgiving meal with these simple upgrades," 14 Nov. 2019 Moviegoers would prefer fewer trailers, according to an August poll of 2,200 people by Hollywood Reporter, with 59 percent saying one to three would be ideal. Karina Bland, azcentral, "Yes, there are too many previews before movies. And I like it that way," 14 Nov. 2019 That bristling structure, the researchers showed, created cavities of an ideal size and shape for trapping light. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "Ultra-Black Is the New Black," 11 Nov. 2019 After blowing a two-goal lead in Greece, they were humiliated at home to Bayern before the win at home to Wednesday's opponents put them in a decent position in the group, not ideal, however. SI.com, "Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 5 Nov. 2019 In public, some Republicans say the president’s actions toward Ukraine, though not ideal, are certainly not impeachable. Mary Clare Jalonick, Time, "'I Really Needed to Watch My Back.' Inside Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine's Newly Released Testimony," 5 Nov. 2019 Creating a character around a particular set of strengths and seeing how those strengths can be applied in gameplay is a blast, but engaging with the Halcyon colony on any level beyond that is less than ideal. EW.com, "The Outer Worlds is a great RPG if you ignore its characters," 22 Oct. 2019 Marotti told me Werner’s body type makes 243 pounds the ideal size for him. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland.com, "Why Ohio State’s new linebackers are the Buckeyes’ old linebackers: Doug Lesmerises," 27 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Using large brooms, the ice is kept free of debris and makes for an ideal climbing area. Mindy Sink, The Know, "5 things you need to know if you ever visit Ouray Ice Park," 15 Nov. 2019 Ethnic stereotypes abound in the original, leaning into Disney’s Americana-without-the-immigrants ideal. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "Disney Plus premieres a new ‘Lady and the Tramp.’ Maybe it helps to hate the ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Lion King’ remakes, but I kind of liked it.," 14 Nov. 2019 In the face of an atrocious act the Christian ideal can seem to many people inappropriate. B.c., The Economist, "Two new films explore the limits of Christian forgiveness," 13 Nov. 2019 As with the military, an immunity to domestic politics is among the Foreign Service’s most cherished ideals. BostonGlobe.com, "And they are opening their wallets to help raise money — including nearly $10,000 last Monday alone — to offset the legal bills of department officials called to testify before Congress.," 10 Nov. 2019 As with the military, an immunity to domestic politics is among the Foreign Service’s most cherished ideals. Michael Crowley, New York Times, "How the State Dept.’s Dissenters Incited a Revolt, Then a Rallying Cry," 9 Nov. 2019 In the Ava DuVernay era, black hustlers are celebrated as entrepreneurial ideals, but Moore just wanted to get-over. Armond White, National Review, "Dolemite Is My Name Honors a Surprising Cultural Pioneer," 8 Nov. 2019 While a cool, dim, and quiet environment is the ideal sleep setting, these factors are typically the last concern for many people in the bedroom. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "These Are the Best Insulated Blackout Curtains to Improve Your Sleep Quality," 6 Nov. 2019 Sanders’ liberal ideals were the reason supporters such as Judith Schwartzbacker came out to see the Vermont senator. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "Presidential contender Bernie Sanders draws crowds to Williams Arena," 4 Nov. 2019

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

19 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce ideal (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ideal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ideal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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