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)

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of idealist in a Sentence


an idealist sees the best in everyone, regardless of how they behave


an idealist attempt to make a go of a mom-and-pop hardware store on Main Street

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That’s a brash title considering the bookish temperament of the story, which follows a group of bright young political idealists in a story peppered with references to 17th-century British literature. Mark Athitakis, Washington Post, "Surveillance, hacking, government overreach: ‘Overthrow’ tackles modern fears," 23 Aug. 2019 But Zoabi is both clear-eyed and an idealist, which makes the comedy interesting. Michael Phillips,, "‘Tel Aviv on Fire’ review: Playing an Israeli/Palestinian soap opera for laughs," 29 July 2019 Varvara is one of Marina’s best friends from school, an idealist and a dedicated Bolshevik, who becomes a Cheka officer in the early years of the Revolution. Denise Davidsonwriter, San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘Chimes of a Lost Cathedral’ echo sounds of Russian past, present," 28 July 2019 Among his other Yale students were a pair of ambitious idealists named Bill and Hillary Clinton. Steve Rubenstein,, "Law professor Charles Reich, author of ‘Greening of America,’ dies at 91," 5 July 2019 Sophie Taeuber-Arp, the abstract artist who died in 1943 at the age of fifty-three, was the most exquisitely chastened of all the idealists of her generation. Jed Perl, The New York Review of Books, "A Master of Mute Forms," 7 Mar. 2019 Ward, originally from Brooklyn, is an idealist who wants to end the corruption in Boston. Matthew Gilbert,, "‘City on a Hill’ isn’t exactly a Boston version of ‘The Wire,’ but it has potential," 12 June 2019 But Leys was no idealist in seeing the party as already dead. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, "China’s ‘Black Week-end’," 17 June 2019 But then the Warriors, as an organization, have the idealist gene. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Classy Warriors go old school to congratulate Raptors on NBA championship," 17 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of idealist


1803, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1856, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about idealist

Statistics for idealist

Last Updated

30 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for idealist

The first known use of idealist was in 1803

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on idealist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for idealist

Spanish Central: Translation of idealist

Nglish: Translation of idealist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of idealist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on idealist

What made you want to look up idealist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!