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Difference Between Ideal and Real

Ideal and actual are two distinct states with distinct implications and meanings. Even if individuals are aware that these two terms are not interchangeable, they may find it difficult to distinguish between them. The phrase “real” refers to anything that is lasting, whereas “ideal” refers to something well-suited to a certain purpose.


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When discussing culture, one’s personal self, lifestyle, and other topics, the terms “actual” versus “ideal” are used interchangeably. Because there are several grammatical and conceptual distinctions between the two words, this article aims at identifying the differences between the two terms.

Ideal vs Real

The difference between ideal and real is that the term “ideal” refers to anything that is better suited over a certain purpose whereas the term “real” refers to it being long-lasting. From a literary standpoint, one could observe that real is utilized as an adverb as well as an adjective in these two terms, ideal and real. Both the terms are ideal and have their roots in late Middle English, which is intriguing. The adjective ‘real’ is indeed a derivation of the word realness. Aspect and actuality are the noun versions of the terms ideal and real, correspondingly.

Ideal vs Real

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When we speak on what’s ideal, we’re usually referring to the best situation (it would have been ideal if you had been rested far before your test); what we’ll be aiming towards (it’d be ideal for all kids to have sound schooling); or some notion of excellence. If you have lofty ideas, you possess strong convictions of what is fair and true, and perhaps even how to change the world.

The word real on the other hand, in philosophy, can allude to things that can be eliminated. It alludes to something that is genuine, all-pervasive, almighty, all-knowing, always and present. The term “real” can also refer to a superior being known as the “Absolute.” In metaphysical terms, “real” refers to something that has neither birth nor death. “Real” simply means “truth.”

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonIdealReal
MeaningA model of anything flawless or without a counterpart is referred to as an ideal. Ideal, as an adjective, refers to the highest degree of quality or something that only exists in the mind.The word real, in philosophy and science can allude to things which can be ended and which are practically existent.
EtymologyLate Middle English (as a term in Platonic philosophy, in the sense ‘existing as an archetype’).Late Middle English (as a legal term meaning ‘relating to things, especially real property’):
Conceptual UtilityFor scientific and metaphysics conceptualization of situations.For scientific and conceptual as well as casual conversations. It is an objective term.
UsageIn models, concepts, mind maps, derivation of formulae and understanding the efficiency of mechanisms. In models, blue prints, physical maps and other practical usages.
SynonymsPerfect, consummate, best, unattainable, flawless, absolute, etc.Actual, existent, material, physical, factual, etc.

What is Ideal?

The term “ideal” will be used in the meaning of “appropriate.” The atmospheric conditions are characterized as perfect or appropriate for a cricket match in the first phrase. In another example, say, a person is described as being more qualified for the position than anyone else.

As a result, the word ideal will be used as a superlative. The term ideal is used as an adjective in most conditions. Including these facts, the term “ideal” is defined by its suitability. The adverbial version of the word ideal is sometimes used. The usage of this word signifies the best case scenario along with the fact that the ideal can never be reality.

The efficiency and chance factor utilized in an ideal case or an ideal situation are unreal and unachievable. The word itself is a scientifically utilized word as we all have heard about the ideal gas theory. Hence, one can conclude that the terminology, ‘ideal’ both scientifically as well as conceptually signifies an unattainable best-case scenario to conceptualize facts and figures for best-case results.

When it comes to culture, real culture relates to what occurs in daily life, while ideal culture refers to how someone should act in accordance with cultural ideals and standards. Psychologists offer diverse theories for the true personality and the ideal self-image. They believe that a person with an ideal self is indeed a visionary who is joyful while dreaming about everything else in existence. A person with such a true self, on either hand, does not fantasize but observes life as it is.

What is Real?

The term ‘real’ signifies the only thing that exists. It is genuine proof of existence. Authenticity is the foundation of the word real. It’s a legitimate feeling. The term “real” is also used in the meaning of “original.” As a result, it is accurate that the term “real” is founded on uniqueness. Take a look at how the adjective genuine is used in the following statement.

The term “real” is frequently used to refer to something unique. It also conveys the message or concept that all previous clashes are not unique. As a result, the term “real” might be defined as “original.” As in many statements and colloquial usages, the word really can also be employed as an adverb.

In philosophical terms, “real” refers to something that has neither origin nor mortality. “Real” simply means “truth.” “Ideal,” on either side, refers to anything that is appropriate.

When someone states that all circumstances are great for commencing the game, for example, they are implying that the scenario is acceptable. The word carries an essence of differentiating the need of an ideal in realistic conditions, meaning, the word is widely used by several perspectives magnifying hypothetical as well as realistic approaches.

Main Differences Between Ideal and Real

  1. The ideal is unattainable whereas real is something that signifies existence and is attainable by all.
  2. The term ‘ideal’ is used more for scientific derivations whereas the term ‘real’ is universally used both scientifically and colloquially.
  3. The term ideal is subjective in nature whereas the word ‘real’ is objective and universal in nature.
  4. A person with an ideal mindset is said to be unsuccessful whereas a realist is more successful and practical.
  5. An ideal situation must be created theoretically whereas the real situation cannot be created but already exists.
  6. Synonyms of the ideal are; perfect, consummate, best, unattainable whereas the synonyms of real are actual, existent, material, factual, etc.
Difference Between Ideal and Real
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