ideal

adjective
ide·​al | \ ī-ˈdē(-ə)l How to pronounce ideal (audio) , ˈī-ˌdē(-ə)l\

Definition of ideal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or embodying an ideal ideal beauty
b : conforming exactly to an ideal, law, or standard : perfect an ideal gas — compare real sense 1c(3)
2a : existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only broadly : lacking practicality
b : relating to or constituting mental images, ideas, or conceptions
3 : of or relating to philosophical idealism
4 : existing as an archetypal idea

ideal

noun

Definition of ideal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence
2 : one regarded as exemplifying an ideal and often taken as a model for imitation
3 : an ultimate object or aim of endeavor : goal
4 : a subset of a mathematical ring that is closed under addition and subtraction and contains the products of any given element of the subset with each element of the ring

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Other Words from ideal

Noun

idealless \ ī-​ˈdē(-​ə)l-​ləs How to pronounce idealless (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for ideal

Noun

model, example, pattern, exemplar, ideal mean someone or something set before one for guidance or imitation. model applies to something taken or proposed as worthy of imitation. a decor that is a model of good taste example applies to a person to be imitated or in some contexts on no account to be imitated but to be regarded as a warning. children tend to follow the example of their parents pattern suggests a clear and detailed archetype or prototype. American industry set a pattern for others to follow exemplar suggests either a faultless example to be emulated or a perfect typification. cited Joan of Arc as the exemplar of courage ideal implies the best possible exemplification either in reality or in conception. never found a job that matched his ideal

Examples of ideal in a Sentence

Adjective

It was an ideal spot for a vacation. She is an ideal candidate for the job. The conference provided us with an ideal opportunity to meet new people.

Noun

an ideal of romantic love He hasn't lived up to his high ideals. She considers the actress her ideal.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Men who want to lessen their risk for breast cancer should maintain an ideal weight and restrict alcohol consumption. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Male breast cancer screening in high-risk patients extremely successful, study says," 17 Sep. 2019 With the famous trio of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains jutting skyward above the town, Grindelwald is an ideal jumping-off point for our Alpine adventures. National Geographic, "Swiss and French Alps Expedition: Mountain Adventure," 15 Sep. 2019 This is the other glaring flaw at the heart of the case for welding as the ideal alternative to college. Paul Tough, The Atlantic, "The Myth of the Wealthy Welder," 13 Sep. 2019 Morris saw had an ideal frame for a defensive end and a player who outworked everyone else. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "Incarnate Word’s TJ Wright stands out with uplifting attitude, pre-med academics," 12 Sep. 2019 Lorri Saddler, another line sister, said the AKA chapter on Howard's campus didn't accept new members Harris' junior year but as a senior, Harris was an ideal candidate. Stephanie Ramirez, CBS News, "How Kamala Harris' education at a black college shaped her," 12 Sep. 2019 Spring/Summer 2020 is all about finding the ideal dress for you. James Love, Essence, "NYFW: Day Four Was All About A Statement Dress," 10 Sep. 2019 This week Mr Rees-Mogg chose to listen to an era-defining debate while lying prone across the Commons benches, as if on a chaise longue, providing the Labour Party with an ideal election poster. The Economist, "British politics goes into the upside down," 5 Sep. 2019 In addition to serving audiophiles who want to add Sonos to their high-end equipment rather than use the Sonos amps and speakers, the Port, like the Connect, is an ideal match for a record player. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The Sonos One SL trades voice control for a price cut," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In many ways, Dr. Sesikeran is the ideal ILSI recruit: a former top government official and marquee nutritionist. Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, "A Shadowy Industry Group Shapes Food Policy Around the World," 16 Sep. 2019 Legendary goalkeeper Rustu Recber told Hurriyet that Muriqi was the ideal forward, thanks to his imposing physique and technical ability on the ball. SI.com, "Vedat Muriqi: 7 Things to Know About the Premier League Linked Kosovo Forward," 15 Sep. 2019 The saint-soldier ideal applies to women and men alike. Simran Jeet Singh, The Conversation, "Why Sikhs wear a turban and what it means to practice the faith in the United States," 13 Sep. 2019 Some of al-Hol's women are raising their kids to conform with ISIS' ideals, while others are trying desperately to keep their kids away from the camp. Arwa Damon And Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "A forgotten camp in Syria could be the birthplace of ISIS' revenge generation," 12 Sep. 2019 Their mistake was to assume that global views of the city are driven only by economic interests, rather than political ideals. The Economist, "Hong Kong can be a gateway to liberal values for China," 10 Sep. 2019 This weekend at the San Francisco’s Balboa Theater, both screens will be filled with the dreams, fantasies and ideals formed in the childhood of a boy who spent the Saturday afternoons of the 1950s lost in the movies. G. Allen Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "Seven-film John Carpenter festival includes ‘Halloween,’ ‘The Thing’," 28 Aug. 2019 The newest watch will come with an always-on display (ideal for sneaking a peek at the time during work meetings, says Apple's Stan Ng). Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Annual Apple event promises new iPhone, watch models against a backdrop of slowing sales," 10 Sep. 2019 The combination of super-powerful vitamin C with moisturizing ingredients makes the elixir ideal for any skin type — even those who are sensitive. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Summer Fridays Just Launched Its First Vitamin C Serum, CC Me," 3 Sep. 2019

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ideal

Adjective

Middle English ydeall, from Late Latin idealis, from Latin idea

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Statistics for ideal

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ideal

The first known use of ideal was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for ideal

ideal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ideal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: exactly right for a particular purpose, situation, or person

ideal

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ideal (Entry 2 of 2)

: an idea or standard of perfection or excellence
: someone or something that is believed to be perfect : someone or something that you admire and want to imitate

ideal

adjective
ide·​al | \ ī-ˈdē-əl How to pronounce ideal (audio) \

Kids Definition of ideal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having no flaw : perfect ideal weather

Other Words from ideal

ideally adverb

ideal

noun

Kids Definition of ideal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence He couldn't live up to his own ideals.
2 : someone who deserves to be imitated or admired She considered the older woman her ideal.

ideal

adjective
ide·​al | \ ī-ˈdē(-ə)l How to pronounce ideal (audio) , ˈī-ˌ How to pronounce ideal (audio) \

Medical Definition of ideal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : existing as an archetypal idea
2a : existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only
b : relating to or constituting mental images, ideas, or conceptions

ideal

noun

Medical Definition of ideal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence self-criticism and the formation of ideals are…the essential manifestations of the superego— G. S. Blum

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More from Merriam-Webster on ideal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ideal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ideal

Spanish Central: Translation of ideal

Nglish: Translation of ideal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ideal for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ideal

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