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

The ideal collaborator came in the form of How to Dress Well's Tom Krell who served as the EP's producer. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "How Sasha Belyaeva Went From Muse to Musician," 23 Aug. 2019 So in general, for your tummy’s sake, the ideal nighttime snack is going to be smaller, milder, lower in fat and fiber, and eaten a couple hours before bed. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Is Late-Night Snacking Really So Wrong?," 23 Aug. 2019 Early November is an ideal time to focus on finances and career, while your shrewdness about business matters is at a peak. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for Aug. 23, 2019: Gemini, speak from your heart; Capricorn, think about making key changes," 23 Aug. 2019 The quote is from a 2017 Elba appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden where Elba described his ideal date. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "Taylor Swift's 'Lover' Album Features Idris Elba Cameo," 23 Aug. 2019 According to a report from venerable French publication L'Equipe, the German champions had long seen Roca as an ideal player to plug any midfield gaps, and once the sale of Sanches was beyond doubt there was only one man to fill the space. SI.com, "Report: Bayern Munich Agrees to Pay Release Clause for Espanyol Midfielder Marc Roca," 23 Aug. 2019 The ideal weather — sunny and 70s — brought attendance-breaking crowds to the Fairgrounds, making opening day feel more like a busy State Fair weekend. John Autey, Twin Cities, "Opening day of the State Fair draws huge crowds," 22 Aug. 2019 The tiny hobbit homes are ideal spots for some serious backyard glamping—and also the perfect size to use as a child's playhouse. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "You Can Buy Your Own Custom-Made Hobbit Home on Etsy That Rivals Those in the Shire," 22 Aug. 2019 For those who enjoy the slopes, this is the ideal residence. Kelli Williams, The Denver Post, "Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own stunning new construction at the base of Vail Mountain," 22 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Manganiello’s Sonny personifies a boyhood ideal: the athletic apotheosis of casual working-class masculinity. Armond White, National Review, "Bottom of the 9th: Sympathy for the Underdog," 6 Sep. 2019 The brand has been criticized for being out of touch with women and modern beauty ideals. Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, "Victoria’s Secret Had Troubles, Even Before Jeffrey Epstein," 6 Sep. 2019 Her recent short film RedefinePretty helps prove how damaging beauty standards can be by examining the brain’s emotional reactions to images of faces that enforce or defy such ideals. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "25 People Changing the Beauty Industry," 3 Sep. 2019 Democratic ideals dictate that both require public oversight, transparency and accountability. Scientific American, "How Misinformation Spreads—and Why We Trust It," 3 Sep. 2019 For that kind of math, the icosahedron was the ideal random number generator. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "Why D&D Modernized Its Magic for a New Generation of Fantasy," 1 Sep. 2019 This home and guesthouse enjoy an expansive park-like backyard ideal for entertaining on any level, play and quiet leisure. Monica Lander, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: These properties blend San Jose’s roots with its Silicon Valley future," 27 Aug. 2019 Freedom from Western beauty ideals and freedom from the stresses of work. Anchorage Daily News, "Podcaster brings millennial Native voices to airwaves," 28 July 2019 The network, led by the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity, has spent more than $1 billion over the past several elections to support candidates that adhere to their free-market, small government libertarian ideals. NBC News, "David Koch, billionaire conservative activist and philanthropist, dies at 79," 23 Aug. 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

27 Aug 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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