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ideal Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain
  2. noun model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal
    nonesuch; nonsuch; paragon; apotheosis; saint; nonpareil.
  3. adjective satellite conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence; embodying an ideal
  4. adjective satellite constituting or existing only in the form of an idea or mental image or conception
    • a poem or essay may be typical of its period in idea or ideal content
  5. adjective of or relating to the philosophical doctrine of the reality of ideas

I*de"al adjective
L. idealis: cf. F. idéal.
  1. Existing in idea or thought; conceptional; intellectual; mental; as, ideal knowledge.
  2. Reaching an imaginary standard of excellence; fit for a model; faultless; as, ideal beauty. Byron.
    There will always be a wide interval between practical and ideal excellence. Rambler.
  3. Existing in fancy or imagination only; visionary; unreal. "Planning ideal common wealth." Southey.
  4. Teaching the doctrine of idealism; as, the ideal theory or philosophy.
  5. (Math.) Imaginary. Syn. -- Intellectual; mental; visionary; fanciful; imaginary; unreal; impracticable; utopian.
I*de"al noun
  1. A mental conception regarded as a standard of perfection; a model of excellence, beauty, etc.
    The ideal is to be attained by selecting and assembling in one whole the beauties and perfections which are usually seen in different individuals, excluding everything defective or unseemly, so as to form a type or model of the species. Thus, the Apollo Belvedere is the ideal of the beauty and proportion of the human frame. Fleming.

Webster 1913