ide·​al·​ism | \ ī-ˈdē-(ə-)ˌliz-əm How to pronounce idealism (audio) , ˈī-(ˌ)dē- \

Definition of idealism

1a : the practice of forming ideals or living under their influence
b : something that is idealized
2a(1) : a theory that ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena
(2) : a theory that the essential nature of reality lies in consciousness or reason
b(1) : a theory that only the perceptible is real
(2) : a theory that only mental states or entities are knowable
3 : literary or artistic theory or practice that affirms the preeminent value of imagination as compared with faithful copying of nature — compare realism

Examples of idealism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For Phillips, some idealism is necessary to do his job. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 July 2022 The idealism was the attempt to trade and cooperate with Russia in the hope of bringing Moscow into the sphere of normal international relations. Patrick Smith, NBC News, 18 May 2022 That sense of idealism prevailed throughout the weekend, fostering a summer camp vibe. Laura Studarus, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2022 Any ounce of idealism has been snuffed out of me helping build a business that competes against massive firms. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 And some even argue that this workplace idealism began with Gen X 30 years ago. Hillary Hoffower, Fortune, 18 July 2022 After the agonizing end with Max—breaking with him also meant distancing herself from other African friends and suffering a frustrated idealism—Mom must have found Jack exciting. David Wright Faladé, The New Yorker, 4 July 2022 The dramatic Moon first trines headstrong Mars, elevating our adrenaline and indulging our idealism. Chicago Tribune, 2 July 2022 And yet the couple still had to navigate a show that, for all its supposed idealism, was working hard to sensationalize their different backgrounds. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 23 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'idealism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of idealism

circa 1743, in the meaning defined at sense 2a(1)

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The first known use of idealism was circa 1743

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Idealism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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