Meaning of IDEAL in English


I. i ‧ deal 1 S3 W3 /ˌaɪˈdɪəl◂/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: idéal , from Late Latin idealis , from Latin idea ; ⇨ ↑ idea ]

1 . the best or most suitable that something could possibly be SYN perfect :

advice on how to reach your ideal weight

The scheme offers an ideal opportunity for youngsters to get training.

With so much rain, conditions are far from ideal.

ideal for

An elastic waist makes these jeans ideal for the larger woman.

an ideal place for a walk

2 . [only before noun] an ideal world, job, system etc is one that you imagine to be perfect, but that is not likely to really exist SYN perfect :

In an ideal world there would be no need for a police force.

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■ most suitable

▪ perfect completely suitable for something or someone:

It’s the perfect place to relax after a hard day at work.


It was a perfect day for going to the beach.


I think she would be perfect for him.

▪ ideal very suitable and exactly what you want – often used about someone or something that you imagine, but which does not really exist:

What would be your ideal job?


She still hasn’t found her ideal man.


It is the ideal place for a vacation.

▪ just right especially spoken very good or suitable in every way:

The weather was just right for a day at the beach.


The dress is just right for you.

▪ be just the thing/person informal to be exactly what is needed or wanted:

Cold lemonade is just the thing on a hot day.


He’s just the person for the job.

II. ideal 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

1 . a principle about what is morally right or a perfect standard that you hope to achieve

ideal of

the ideal of a free and democratic society

the long-vanished ideals of the 1950s

2 . a perfect example of what something should be like

ideal of

Are our ideals of beauty changing?

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■ adjectives

▪ a high ideal ( also a lofty ideal formal )

Most politicians start out with high ideals.

▪ a noble ideal

He was willing to sacrifice his life for this noble ideal.

▪ a romantic ideal

I gave up my romantic ideal of love at the age of nineteen.

▪ political ideals

Are you willing to fight for your political ideals?

▪ revolutionary ideals

He still believed in the revolutionary ideals of equality and justice.

▪ socialist/democratic/liberal ideals

He is committed to democratic ideals such as majority rule.

▪ artistic ideals ( also aesthetic ideals formal )

His father had given up artistic ideals in pursuit of money.

■ verbs

▪ believe in an ideal

We believe in the ideal of justice for all.

▪ be committed to an ideal (=believe in it strongly)

Everyone in the party is committed to the same socialist ideals.

▪ meet/live up to your ideals (=be as good as you think something should be)

The regime is not living up to its supposed democratic ideals.

▪ fall short of your ideals (=not be as good as you think something should be)

In appearance, she fell somewhat short of his ideals.

▪ be true to your ideals (=to behave in the way that you believe is right)

Stick to your principles and be true to your ideals.

▪ cling to your ideals (=continue to believe that something is good or right even when it does not seem to be like this in real life)

He is a man who still clings to ideals of loyalty and friendship.

▪ abandon your ideals (=to stop believing in ideals)

Have these young people abandoned the ideals of the Civil Rights Movement?

▪ betray your ideals (=to do something that is not acceptable according to your ideals)

He argues that Lenin betrayed his revolutionary ideals.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.