Definitions

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

  • n. One whose conduct is influenced by ideals that often conflict with practical considerations.
  • n. One who is unrealistic and impractical; a visionary.
  • n. An artist or writer whose work is imbued with idealism.
  • n. An adherent of any system of philosophical idealism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who adheres to idealism.
  • n. Someone whose conduct stems from idealism rather than from practicality.
  • n. An unrealistic or impractical visionary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who idealizes; one who forms picturesque fancies; one given to romantic expectations.
  • n. One who holds the doctrine of idealism, in any sense. In senses 4 and 5 of idealism, opposed to realist.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who holds some form of the philosophical doctrine of idealism: opposed to realist.
  • n. One who pursues or dwells upon the ideal; a seeker after the highest beauty or good.
  • n. An imaginative, unpractical person; a day-dreamer.

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

  • n. someone guided more by ideals than by practical considerations

Etymologies

From French idéaliste, from Late Latin idealis ("ideal"), from Latin idea ("idea"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In this chapter the word idealist will be used in several ways.

    Interpretations of American History

  • Long-ago Democratic president Woodrow Wilson, meanwhile, known to most of us as a modestly progressive idealist, is in the right-wing canon America's first fascist ruler.

    Midterm election results: the fight Obama now faces

  • In years past, this would be a familiar race between a member of the Albany machine (Mr. DiNapoli entered New York politics at the age of 18) and a young idealist from the lost tribe known as the New York Republicans.

    The Biggest Race You Haven't Heard Of

  • An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

    Blog De Ganz | Archive | June

  • In November 1910, Francisco Madero, a young idealist from a wealthy family, supported by ragtag armies under Pancho Villa in the north and Zapata in the south, led a revolt against the Diaz administration.

    Murder in Mexico: an English family during the Revolution

  • Their homes and galleries may be all the soul desires; but the instant they venture on the streets of the city, they have left the realm of beauty for an unsightly dominion, where the utilitarian makes the world hideous and survives, and the idealist is banished or exterminated.

    What Communities Lose by the Competivie System

  • One could classify as idealist a collective security system that weighted all states equally and expected them to sacrifice blood and treasure for nonvital interests.

    How Wars end

  • I am an idealist, but I†™ m a pragmatic idealist, that is, the ideals I†™ m willing to believe in have to be workable in the real world which I accept will never be perfect.

    The worst agenda is a hidden agenda « BuzzMachine

  • Thus, they are far wilier than their idealist counterparts for whom many used to be (remember: the last refuge of the idealist is a cynic?) and they seem far more worldly wise.

    Notes From A Recovering Cynic

  • I think he's an idealist, which is good, but I think he's way off base here.

    CNN Transcript Sep 8, 2002

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