Meaning of idealism in English:


See synonyms for idealism

Translate idealism into Spanish


mass noun
  • 1The unrealistic belief in or pursuit of perfection.

    Compare with realism

    ‘the idealism of youth’
    • ‘We learned about the three ‘major’ sets of political beliefs - idealism, liberalism and realism.’
    • ‘As Abbott has since admitted, this was done not through any sense of public duty or political idealism.’
    • ‘This is not to say that Americans have lost their idealism or their belief that international relations should be dictated in part by moral principles - hardly.’
    • ‘So amid all of these battles that happen in the film and all the violence that's going on, there's this really terrific story of virtue and idealism and the pursuit of what is right.’
    • ‘And that is idealism: a belief that good can triumph over bad, that principle can defeat expediency.’
    • ‘The position Professor Fodor is attacking, which associates reality with true belief, sounds like idealism, not pragmatism.’
    • ‘The quenching of idealism in the pursuit of monetary gain and world domination were among the core theories at the heart of John's case.’
    • ‘American idealism with its unrealistic expectations led many to assume the master was above vices.’
    • ‘Indeed, those parents of an age to have had to put up with the abuse, ranting, demonstrating, and phony political idealism of the sixties will at last be getting some kind of return from their children.’
    • ‘There were others who, in perhaps the first act of political idealism in their lives, renounced MAD in protest over its editor's departure.’
    • ‘In the 1900's, a new political idealism took hold of Russia.’
    • ‘The Quiet American is a thoughtful film about what ensues when cynicism, both personal and political, collide with idealism.’
    • ‘My desire to continue my career in the Marines was bumping up against my political idealism and I was unsure of what to do.’
    • ‘Perhaps, but what else besides idealism, belief in humanity's potential for good, would keep anyone in a business with such a paltry reward system?’
    • ‘Whether the effect is attributable to idealism or political calculation, some prominent officials appear to have been swayed.’
    • ‘Escaping to Italy, she sets her sights on the newly married Robert Windermere, whose wife Meg is about to turn 21 and is still charming with the naivety and idealism of youth.’
    • ‘I think we can also say that today (even more so than in our youth) idealism is with those who serve, rather than bash, their country.’
    • ‘The film doesn't simply say that money doesn't buy happiness; rather, it explores the complex nature of power, wealth, idealism and youth.’
    • ‘It's in our youth when idealism burns strongest.’
    • ‘The idealism of the China Youth Daily is actually very practical.’
    utopianism, wishful thinking, romanticism, fantasizing, quixotism, daydreaming, impracticability
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(in art or literature) the representation of things in ideal or idealized form.
      Often contrasted with realism (sense 2)
      ‘He posited that Durer's work represents a synthesis of naturalism and idealism that offers an example to contemporary artists.’
      • ‘Lesley Cormack is resolute in trying to resolve the contradiction between Dee's textual idealism and social pragmatism, to the disadvantage of the idealist text.’
      • ‘These are said to have been most influential in early nineteenth-century France and Germany and to have had a profound effect on German idealism and on European romanticism in general.’
      • ‘In 1849 he settled in Albany, NY, sculpting portrait busts and religious bas-reliefs in a style which tempered neoclassical idealism with growing realism.’
      • ‘These photos reflect an undiminished sense of lyricism and idealism that recall his earliest efforts.’
  • 2Philosophy
    Any of various systems of thought in which the objects of knowledge are held to be in some way dependent on the activity of mind.

    Often contrasted with realism (sense 3)

    ‘Kant's transcendental idealism should not be confused with subjective idealism which makes the physical dependent on the mental.’
    • ‘There are theists in all of these categories (don't know about transcendental idealism or logical positivists), so they all allow for divine intervention of a kind.’
    • ‘No significant distinction would then remain between Kant's position (that we can have knowledge of phenomena) and the empirical idealism that he claims to reject.’
    • ‘The scientific realist, though no Kantian, may be ready, by way of making his maximum concession, with a reply modelled on Kant's combination of empirical realism with transcendental idealism.’
    • ‘Jacobi's basic thesis is that Fichte's reworking of Kantian transcendental idealism leads to an impoverished egoism which has no knowledge of objects or subjects in themselves.’



/ʌɪˈdɪəlɪz(ə)m/ /ʌɪˈdiːəlɪz(ə)m/


Mid 18th century (in idealism (sense 2)): from ideal + -ism, after French idéalisme or German Idealismus.