Pronunciation: (ī-dē'ul, ī-dēl'), [key]
1. a conception of something in its perfection.
2. a standard of perfection or excellence.
3. a person or thing conceived as embodying such a conception or conforming to such a standard, and taken as a model for imitation: Thomas Jefferson was his ideal.
4. an ultimate object or aim of endeavor, esp. one of high or noble character: He refuses to compromise any of his ideals.
5. something that exists only in the imagination: To achieve the ideal is almost hopeless.
6. Math.a subring of a ring, any element of which when multiplied by any element of the ring results in an element of the subring.
1. conceived as constituting a standard of perfection or excellence: ideal beauty.
2. regarded as perfect of its kind: an ideal spot for a home.
3. existing only in the imagination; not real or actual: Nature is real; beauty is ideal.
4. advantageous; excellent; best: It would be ideal if she could accompany us as she knows the way.
5. based upon an ideal or ideals: the ideal theory of numbers.
a. pertaining to a possible state of affairs considered as highly desirable.
b. pertaining to or of the nature of idealism.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.