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(4)
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 ideal (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 brand has reimagined its styles into shirts, pants, and outerwear that are ideal for wearing through every step of your travels, no matter your reason for adventuring away from home. Carly Totten, Travel + Leisure, 8 Oct. 2021 LinkedIn is ideal for business contacts, while Facebook and Instagram can provide more personal information. Lisa Kanarek, Wired, 8 Oct. 2021 Having a player making over $2 million who was not going to play for them this season was not ideal for the Pacers salary cap outlook. Tony East, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 Parisi's mathematical modeling is ideal for investigating what variation is mere chaos and what has larger causes. Don Lincoln, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021 The long straightaways and open roads are ideal for cyclists training for grueling competitions, something that can't be replicated in the density of Houston. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, 6 Oct. 2021 Step onto the terrace, which is ideal for al fresco dining. Kiersten Willis, ajc, 5 Oct. 2021 Comfort is ideal for slower speeds, but once in the upper reaches of the speedometer, the Firm setting works best, absorbing hard impacts and obstacles quicker and more efficiently. Bryan Campbell, Robb Report, 5 Oct. 2021 Earth tones are ideal for designing soft, layered environments, O'Donnell says. Elizabeth Sweet, Better Homes & Gardens, 4 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This is the highest-speed option, with connection ideal for unlimited devices, gaming and the fastest possible downloads. Claire Rafford, The Indianapolis Star, 20 July 2021 Since many of these bottles are small-batch or limited releases, the ideal (and sometimes, the only) way to try them is to visit. Valerie Stivers + Hank Zona, Travel + Leisure, 1 Oct. 2021 Nostalgia is always a kind of distilled longing, an ideal, not a re-creation. Bathsheba Demuth, The Atlantic, 22 Sep. 2021 Have a picture of the longer-term ideal, but also a way to earn income on day one. Ellevate, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 Phil, in his dusty chaps and battered hat, embodies the lone-cowboy ideal, or at least certainly fancies himself that way. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 7 Sep. 2021 But Revere’s twin persona as artisan and patriot would come to stand for a particularly American ideal, redolent of honest labor (as opposed to financial speculation or aristocratic inheritance) and stalwart independence. Susan Tallman, The New York Review of Books, 19 Aug. 2021 Ulrich has referred to these findings to support a lush, green ideal for health-care art. Lou Stoppard, The New Yorker, 31 July 2021 Academy board chair Joseph Grenny listed all the characteristics that make the property ideal — from its proximity to downtown Salt Lake City to its access to public transit on Redwood Road. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for ideal

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ideal

ideaistic

ideal

ideal engine

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Statistics for ideal

Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ideal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ideal. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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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 : perfect

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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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