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 Zaf is a romance-novel reading idealist, who is still grappling with anxiety exacerbated by the tragic death of his brother and father. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hot Stuff: June romances embrace the inherent sexiness of faking it," 30 June 2020 Grimmelmann believes that Kahle, a 1990s dot-com entrepreneur who has sunk millions of dollars into the Internet Archive, is fundamentally an idealist. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Lawsuit over online book lending could bankrupt Internet Archive," 1 June 2020 The lonely idealist is an opportunity for the fading aristocrat hunting a big score, and Coriolanus navigates closer to Sejanus with mirthful, merciless charm. Darren Franich,, "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes review: Hunger Games prequel's darkly funny, way too long," 19 May 2020 Hollywood has been scripting this story for nearly 50 years, via two of its paradigmatic liberal heartthrobs and leading idealists: Robert Redford and Warren Beatty. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Two Movies That Define Today’s Democrats," 11 Mar. 2020 But the idealist in me says that there are a lot of people who are taking up bed space in jail that belongs to someone else. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'A law enforcement pioneer': Lenard Wells, who died of coronavirus complications, leaves lasting legacy," 23 Mar. 2020 The undercurrent of darkness that Fincher tapped into for Gone Girl likely appealed to Zack Snyder, who picked Affleck to play Batman as a veteran of crime-fighting drained of enough idealism to be provoked into a fight with the idealist Superman. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Ben Affleck Gives the Performance of His Career," 7 Mar. 2020 Western intellectuals always romanticize lethal Communists as misguided idealists rather than stone-cold authoritarians. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Is America Becoming Sinicized?," 17 Oct. 2019 As Christian, McGregor is impossibly genuine: an innocent and earnest artist, and a tragic idealist. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Moulin Rouge on Broadway," 21 Mar. 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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Statistics for idealist

Last Updated

10 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idealist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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