Definition of "idealism" [i•de•al•ism]

  • The act or practice of envisioning things in an ideal form. (noun)
  • Pursuit of one's ideals. (noun)
  • Idealized treatment of a subject in literature or art. (noun)
  • Philosophy The theory that the object of external perception, in itself or as perceived, consists of ideas. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "idealism" in a sentence
  • "We suspect that, for most people, the difference between “self-congratulatory idealism” and admirable idealism comes down to this: If the idealism is about something that is safely in the past or safely far away and has nothing to do with me, it's admirable, or at least harmless; if it does have something to do with me and my behavior, then it must be judgmental and self-congratulatory."
  • "Corresponding to this individualistic tendency on the part of absolute idealism, there has been recently projected a _personal idealism_, or"
  • "That's what they call idealism; the word's vastly abused, but the thing is good."