If something is ideal, it’s nearly perfect, or a person perceives perfection. We also use this adjective when describing a situation or a thing that may exist only in the imagination.

  • The doctor told Vicky that her ideal weight is 110 pounds.
  • The agreement worked out by the two parties is not ideal, but it solves several problems.
  • An ideal solution to the conflict is impossible.
  • Tom and Rebecca believe they have an ideal marriage. (They think their marriage is perfect.)
  • The location picked for the construction of the building is less than ideal. (less than ideal = not very good)
  • Sam tried to be the ideal husband but he could never live up to his wife’s expectations, so they got a divorce.
  • What is the ideal way to learn a new language?

The word "idealist" is a noun that you can use when referring to a person. The word "idealistic" is an adjective.

  • Joe is an idealist. He’s hard to please because his convictions are so strong.
  • When Jennifer started her career as a teacher, she was very idealistic. Now that she’s older, she’s more realistic about her role as a teacher.
  • The company is very interested in finding a leader who’s an idealist and an innovator.

Note: Don’t confuse "ideal" with "idea."

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This page was first published on October 9, 2013.