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ideal

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noun

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun ideal differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of ideal are example, exemplar, model, and pattern. While all these words mean "someone or something set before one for guidance or imitation," ideal implies the best possible exemplification either in reality or in conception.

never found a job that matched his ideal

When can example be used instead of ideal?

The synonyms example and ideal are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When might exemplar be a better fit than ideal?

The words exemplar and ideal are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, exemplar suggests either a faultless example to be emulated or a perfect typification.

cited Joan of Arc as the exemplar of courage

In what contexts can model take the place of ideal?

The words model and ideal can be used in similar contexts, but model applies to something taken or proposed as worthy of imitation.

a decor that is a model of good taste

When could pattern be used to replace ideal?

Although the words pattern and ideal have much in common, pattern suggests a clear and detailed archetype or prototype.

American industry set a pattern for others to follow

Thesaurus Entries Near ideal

Cite this Entry

“Ideal.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/ideal. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on ideal

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