ide·​al·​ist | \ ī-ˈdē-(ə-)list How to pronounce idealist (audio) , ˈī-(ˌ)dē- \

Definition of idealist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one guided by ideals especially : one that places ideals before practical considerations
2a : an adherent of a philosophical theory of idealism
b : an artist or author who advocates or practices idealism in art or writing



Definition of idealist (Entry 2 of 2)

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Examples of idealist in a Sentence

Noun an idealist sees the best in everyone, regardless of how they behave Adjective an idealist attempt to make a go of a mom-and-pop hardware store on Main Street
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But manager Rocco Baldelli sounded more realist than idealist on Sunday when asked if there is time to stop a sell-off by the July 31 trade deadline. La Velle E. Neal Iii, Star Tribune, 14 June 2021 Exley, an excitable idealist in his fifties, decided to start a think tank instead. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 24 May 2021 Kendrick's medical researcher proves an idealist, while Kim's biologist is more pragmatic. Brian Lowry, CNN, 22 Apr. 2021 Theroux plays Allie Fox, an idealist and inventor who suddenly finds himself in the crosshairs of the U.S. government. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 7 Apr. 2021 Which is why the town's remnants are of interest to a freethinking idealist born to a wealthy Swiss-Californian family. Kevin West, Travel + Leisure, 12 Apr. 2021 Just so; Alex was a tortured idealist who turned down a fellowship that seemed to be tied to the military-industrial complex, and as a result he got drafted and had a wayward life of odd jobs, all beneath him. Kyle Smith, National Review, 7 Apr. 2021 Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill is an arena-rock idealist, a firm believer in the undying power of setting up shop at the 50-yard line of rock & roll expectations and doing very brisk business. Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone, 5 Mar. 2021 Having started in public life as a scrappy idealist, by the end of his career Mr. McDonald had become a power broker. Alex Traub, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Consider both the idealist and realist cases for stepping into this global leadership role. Ben Sasse, WSJ, 17 May 2021 Hawks make both idealist and realist arguments for staying in Afghanistan. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 16 Apr. 2021 These Thanksgiving remarks came seven months after Wilson led the country into World War I. Wilson, the son of a preacher, was one part scholar and one part politician, one part idealist and one part visionary. David M. Shribman, Los Angeles Times, 25 Nov. 2020 Witnessing the best and worst of humanity helped make McCain both an idealist and pragmatist, as well as an unconventional, independent-minded senator who yet revered the Senate’s institutional traditions. Geoffrey Kabaservice, Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'idealist.' 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 idealist


1803, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1856, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for idealist

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The first known use of idealist was in 1803

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Idealist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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