Definition of ideal in English:


Syllabification: i·de·al
Pronunciation: /īˈdē(ə)l


  • 1Satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable: the swimming pool is ideal for a quick dip this is an ideal opportunity to save money
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    • Light and easy to wear, this beachwear classic is ideal for perfecting that all-over-tan.
    • These organizations can make you aware of internship opportunities, which are ideal for giving you experience and exposure into the industry.
    • Otherwise, the concept was ideal for providing theatre experience for young actors.
    perfect, best possible, consummate, supreme, excellent, flawless, faultless, exemplary, classic, model, ultimate, quintessential, picture-perfect
  • 2 [attributive] Existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality: in an ideal world, we might have made a different decision
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    • In reality, this ideal comparison group does not exist.
    • Those stories, I never enjoyed them as much as she presumed - it was too ideal to be a reality.
    • Mathematics concerns mental activity, not some ideal realm of independently existing entities.
    unattainable, unachievable, impracticable, chimerical; unreal, fictitious, hypothetical, theoretical, ivory-towered, imaginary, illusory, idealized, idyllic, visionary, utopian, fairy-tale
  • 2.1Representing an abstract or hypothetical optimum: mathematical modeling can determine theoretically ideal conditions
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    • That race over an extended three miles and one furlong on a sharp course hardly represented ideal conditions for Running Moss, who will be much better suited tomorrow.
    • These four conditions represent an ideal scenario in which all gains from trade are found and captured by people looking for opportunities to trade.
    • The pavement managing system to identify pavement conditions is an index of 10, with 10 representing an ideal road surface.


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  • 1A person or thing regarded as perfect: you’re my ideal of how a man should be
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    • Everyone thought of him as the perfect ideal of the American citizen.
    • In the mind's ear, one has an ideal of the perfect performance of a piece.
    • Gagarin was pushed by the Soviets as the epitome of the Communist ideal.
    perfection, paragon, epitome, shining example, ne plus ultra, nonpareil, dream
  • 1.1A standard of perfection; a principle to be aimed at: tolerance and freedom, the liberal ideals
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    • Or do we do a little of both, going back and forth, and back again, from moral intuition to principled ideal?
    • Although it is based on the parables of Jesus, it lays down principles and ideals for living that are relevant to all faiths.
    • Yet they all fought for the same sort of ideals and principles as those in the International Brigades.
    model, pattern, exemplar, standard, example, paradigm, archetype, prototype; yardstick, lodestarprinciple, standard, value, belief, conviction, persuasion; (ideals) morals, morality, ethics, ideology, creed


late Middle English (as a term in Platonic philosophy, in the sense 'existing as an archetype'): from late Latin idealis, from Latin idea (see idea).

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