Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A conception of something in its absolute perfection.
  • noun One that is regarded as a standard or model of perfection or excellence.
  • noun An ultimate or worthy object of endeavor; a goal.
  • adjective Conforming to a standard of perfection or excellence; perfect or highly satisfactory.
  • adjective Existing only in the mind; imaginary.
  • adjective Lacking practicality or the possibility of realization.
  • adjective Existing as an archetype or pattern, especially as a Platonic idea or perception.
  • adjective Of or relating to idealism.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In projective geometry, infinitely distant.
  • noun In mathematics, an ideal number.
  • 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.
  • noun That which exists only in idea; a conception that exceeds reality.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Synonyms Pattern, Model, etc. See example.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[From Middle English, pertaining to the divine archetypes of things, from Late Latin ideālis, from Latin idea, idea; see idea.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French idéal, from Late Latin ideālis ("existing in idea"), from Latin idea ("idea"); see idea.

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Comments

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

    March 22, 2007