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 But Air Force coming to town after a big game like Nebraska was less than ideal. Los Angeles Times, "NCAA’s argument against Fair Pay for Play has no merit and Week 3 mismatches prove it," 14 Sep. 2019 So, Ettinger’s version of the train has to look good, even though Everyman Theatre’s stage is far from ideal for a production of this magnitude. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "Next stop: Istanbul — the Orient Express rolls into Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre this fall," 29 Aug. 2019 All four cards seem ideal for 1440p gaming, even at max settings in modern games. Tom Warren, The Verge, "AMD vs. Nvidia: the midrange graphics card battle is heating up," 1 Aug. 2019 Wednesday is looking ideal, with sunny skies and a high of 79 in Cleveland and partly sunny skies and a a high of 81 in Akron. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Hot day Monday with showers and thunderstorms possible: Cleveland, Akron weather forecast," 28 July 2019 Users of those devices need to use the Firefox browser to access YouTube videos, which is less than ideal. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Amazon and Google declare truce, allow YouTube and Prime video streaming on each other’s devices," 9 July 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun What unites them is the common ideal of a democratic and free Hong Kong. The Economist, "Hong Kong can be a gateway to liberal values for China," 10 Sep. 2019 Lofty ideals are one thing, but the proof, as always, is in the pudding. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, "Can Spaceflight Save the Planet?," 6 Sep. 2019 The film suggests that while prison taught Khodorkovsky compassion and humanity, and public perception slowly shifted to view him as a man of ideals, power made Putin steadily more authoritarian. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Citizen K': Film Review | Venice 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 The point is that ideals of manhood can be—and are—wielded by men in power to the majority of men’s detriment. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Being a “Real Man” Will Kill You," 29 Aug. 2019 But the utopian ideals of the early internet are increasingly at odds with the view of it as a place for free speech at all costs, as the darker corners of the web have proved a fertile breeding ground for violent extremism. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: 8chan and the future of the darkest corners of the internet," 6 Aug. 2019 The hippie ideal was to ignore or escape the system, not to game it. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Woodstock’s Contradictions, 50 Years Later," 5 Aug. 2019 The ideal would be a noninvasive wearable headset, though that’s harder to build. Sigal Samuel, Vox, "Facebook is building tech to read your mind. The ethical implications are staggering.," 5 Aug. 2019 Roll out tart dough, and line a 10-inch tart shell (ideal is 2 inches deep). Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "How to make the best banana cream pie ever," 4 Dec. 2018

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

5 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce ideal (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ideal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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