1

ideal

play
adjective ide·al \ī-ˈdē(-ə)l, ˈī-ˌ\

Definition of ideal

  1. 1 :  existing as an archetypal idea

  2. 2 a :  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. 3 a :  of, relating to, or embodying an ideal <ideal beauty> b :  conforming exactly to an ideal, law, or standard :  perfect <an ideal gas> — compare real 2b(3)

  4. 4 :  of or relating to philosophical idealism

Examples of ideal in a sentence

  1. It was an ideal spot for a vacation.

  2. She is an ideal candidate for the job.

  3. The conference provided us with an ideal opportunity to meet new people.

Origin and Etymology of ideal

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


First Known Use: 15th century


2

ideal

noun ide·al

Definition of ideal

  1. 1 :  a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence

  2. 2 :  one regarded as exemplifying an ideal and often taken as a model for imitation

  3. 3 :  an ultimate object or aim of endeavor :  goal

  4. 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

idealless

play \ī-ˈdē(-ə)l-ləs\ adjective

Examples of ideal in a sentence

  1. an ideal of romantic love

  2. He hasn't lived up to his high ideals.

  3. She considers the actress her ideal.

15th Century

First Known Use of ideal

15th century

Synonym Discussion of ideal

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>.


IDEAL Defined for English Language Learners

1

ideal

play
adjective ide·al \ī-ˈdē(-ə)l, ˈī-ˌ\

Definition of ideal for English Language Learners

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


2

ideal

noun ide·al

Definition of ideal for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

ideal

play
adjective ide·al \ī-ˈdē-əl\

Definition of ideal for Students

  1. :  having no flaw :  perfect <ideal weather>

ideally

adverb

2

ideal

play
noun ide·al

Definition of ideal for Students

  1. 1 :  a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence <He couldn't live up to his own ideals.>

  2. 2 :  someone who deserves to be imitated or admired <She considered the older woman her ideal.>


Medical Dictionary

1

ideal

play play
adjective ide·al \ī-ˈdē(-ə)l, ˈī-ˌ\

Medical Definition of ideal

  1. 1:  existing as an archetypal idea

  2. 2a:  existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination onlyb:  relating to or constituting mental images, ideas, or conceptions


2

ideal

noun ide·al

Medical Definition of ideal

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



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

skillful, artistic, or intricate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog-cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ