Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A conception of something in its absolute perfection.
  • n. One that is regarded as a standard or model of perfection or excellence.
  • n. An ultimate object of endeavor; a goal.
  • n. An honorable or worthy principle or aim.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or embodying an ideal.
  • adj. Conforming to an ultimate form or standard of perfection or excellence.
  • adj. Considered the best of its kind.
  • adj. Completely or highly satisfactory: The location of the new house is ideal.
  • adj. Existing only in the mind; imaginary.
  • adj. Lacking practicality or the possibility of realization.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or consisting of ideas or mental images.
  • adj. Philosophy Existing as an archetype or pattern, especially as a Platonic idea or perception.
  • adj. Philosophy Of or relating to idealism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Optimal; being the best possibility.
  • adj. Perfect, flawless, having no defects.
  • adj. Pertaining to ideas, or to a given idea.
  • adj. Existing only in the mind; conceptual, imaginary.
  • adj. Not actually present, but considered as present when limits at infinity are included.
  • n. A perfect standard of beauty, intellect etc., or a standard of excellence to aim at.
  • n. A subring closed under multiplication by its containing ring.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Existing in idea or thought; conceptional; intellectual; mental.
  • adj. Reaching an imaginary standard of excellence; fit for a model; faultless.
  • adj. Existing in fancy or imagination only; visionary; unreal.
  • adj. Teaching the doctrine of idealism.
  • adj. Imaginary.
  • n. A mental conception regarded as a standard of perfection; a model of excellence, beauty, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to or consisting in ideas.
  • Existing only in idea; confined to thought or imagination.
  • Conforming completely to a standard of perfection; perfect.
  • In philosophy, regarding ideas as the only real entities; pertaining to or of the nature of idealism.
  • Arising from ideas or conceptions; based upon an ideal or ideals; manifesting or embodying imagination; imaginative: as, the ideal school in art or literature; an ideal statue or portrait.
  • Synonyms Imaginary, fanciful, shadowy, unreal, chimerical.
  • n. That which exists only in idea; a conception that exceeds reality.
  • n. An imaginary object or individual in which an idea is conceived to be completely realized; hence, a standard or model of perfection: as, the ideal of beauty, virtue, etc.; Bayard, the ideal of chivalry.
  • n. A standard of desire; an ultimate object or aim; a mental conception of what is most desirable: as, one's ideal of enjoyment; our ideals are seldom attained.
  • n. Synonyms Pattern, Model, etc. See example.
  • In projective geometry, infinitely distant.
  • n. In mathematics, an ideal number.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal
  • adj. conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence; embodying an ideal
  • adj. constituting or existing only in the form of an idea or mental image or conception
  • adj. of or relating to the philosophical doctrine of the reality of ideas
  • n. the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain

Etymologies

From Middle English, pertaining to the divine archetypes of things, from Late Latin ideālis, from Latin idea, idea; see idea.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French idéal, from Late Latin ideālis ("existing in idea"), from Latin idea ("idea"); see idea. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Jehovah's dealing with his people, the mourning for her presence being the completest expression of grief, we can come to understand something of the Jewish ideal of marriage and of the high honor, _because of this ideal_, in which women were held.

    Women's Wild Oats Essays on the Re-fixing of Moral Standards

  • _obedience_ is the only evidence of the ideal rule; for in respect to the conduct of the material world, the _ideal_ and the _actual_ are the same.

    Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

  • Indeed, ideal observer analyses that go too far in this direction seem to become circular ” the ˜ideal™ observer is ideal because she always makes proper judgments, those being defined as just those judgments the ideal observer would make (Broad 1959, p. 263).

    Impartiality

  • Without question, Barbie has one quality that merits the term ideal, and that is timelessness.

    The Barbie Chronicles

  • Portability: Liberal checkpoint system makes the title ideal for small bursts of gameplay perfect for the on-the-go gamer.

    Game Info Wire

  • But the ideal is an independent FCC or Congress that pays attention and demands that these companies act in the public interest, that they be aware of their role as the keepers and switches of American information, that they have special duties that go beyond the ordinary companies 'duties.

    The Past And Future Of Information Empires

  • Still, the word "ideal" is important: Ideal conditions for driving in a fuel-saving manner aren't easy to find or sustain.

    The Back-Seat Driver in Your Dashboard

  • Kay-shawn: Ah the ideal is the mistery behind the hiding part of mi-face (lol).

    Wonderful Community I am in

  • I'd rather beat conservatives into a corner than argue with them about a way forward if their ideal is a time when people were systematically denied equality based on the color of their skin.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • As Muslims, our ideal is a totally Islamic society, but that is only an ideal.

    Radovan Karadzic's website and blog

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Comments

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  • Shooting nothing but the net when you are playing basketball is ideal.

    March 22, 2007