idealism

noun
ide·​al·​ism | \ī-ˈdē-(ə-)ˌliz-əm, 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

There was genuine idealism in its founding, John said. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Here’s why Trump threatened to pull out of a 144-year-old postal treaty," 19 Oct. 2018 Making that into a new, innovative, attractive garment requires both pragmatism and idealism. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Where Hype Meets Hygge: Introducing Public School and Eileen Fisher’s Up-Cycled Collaboration," 24 Oct. 2018 In every generation, there are those who put country first, who prize service ahead of self, who summon idealism from a cynical age. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Vice President Mike Pence Pays Tribute to John McCain in Speech at His Memorial Service," 31 Aug. 2018 But Saarinen finessed the problem rather like corporate architects today finesse the problem of housing large, impersonal, often rapacious organizations in buildings that suggests transparency, openness and idealism. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018 Youthful idealism is the sustaining force of this neighborhood, but this production makes sure that all generations are heard. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "A Highly Entertaining, Energetic 'In the Heights' At Playhouse On Park," 18 June 2018 Though tech companies have been taking their knocks lately, even the ones now under the most scrutiny were launched in a glow of idealism. Steven Levy, WIRED, "Inside Palmer Luckey’s Bid to Build A Border Wall," 11 June 2018 But Saarinen finessed the problem rather like corporate architects today finesse the problem of housing large, impersonal, often rapacious organizations in buildings that suggests transparency, openness and idealism. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018 But Saarinen finessed the problem rather like corporate architects today finesse the problem of housing large, impersonal, often rapacious organizations in buildings that suggests transparency, openness and idealism. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of idealism

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

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for idealism

The first known use of idealism was circa 1743

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More Definitions for idealism

idealism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of idealism

: the attitude of a person who believes that it is possible to live according to very high standards of behavior and honesty

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More from Merriam-Webster on idealism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with idealism

Spanish Central: Translation of idealism

Nglish: Translation of idealism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of idealism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about idealism

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