Ideal vs Real: Difference and Comparison

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.

When discussing culture, one’s the 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ideal situations represent perfect or optimal conditions, whereas real situations involve actual, imperfect circumstances.
  2. Ideal scenarios are theoretical constructs used for planning, modelling, or comparison purposes, while real situations are experienced in everyday life.
  3. The difference between ideal and real scenarios highlights the gap between theoretical expectations and practical realities.

Ideal vs Real

Ideal refers to a standard of perfection or excellence, theoretical or imagined, that one aspires to achieve. Real pertains to what actually exists or occurs in reality, tangible and concrete, characterized by practical considerations and limitations.

Ideal vs Real

When we speak about what’s ideal, we’re 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 first phrase characterises atmospheric conditions as perfect or appropriate for a cricket match. In another example, say, a person is described as more qualified than anyone else.

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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 is 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.

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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 the essence of differentiating the need for 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 ‘real’ is universally used 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, and unattainable, whereas the synonyms of real are actual, existent, material, factual, etc.
Difference Between Ideal and Real

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Ideal vs Real: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The difference between ideal and real scenarios highlights the gap between theoretical expectations and practical realities. Ideal represents a standard of perfection, while real situations are the truth of everyday life.

  2. The term ‘real’ is used to refer to something unique and is the foundation of authenticity. It is characterized by practical considerations and limitations, whereas the ideal is a standard of perfection or excellence, theoretical or imagined.

  3. The ideal best-case scenario signifies the best possible conditions, while real scenarios are tangible, characterized by practical limitations. Ideal culture refers to how one should act, while real culture relates to daily life.

  4. Ideal situations represent optimum conditions used for planning, while real scenarios are the truth, experienced in everyday life. Ideal pertains to perfection, while the real is actual and tangible.

  5. Ideal situations are theoretical constructs used for planning or comparison, whereas real situations are experienced in everyday life. The ideal is unattainable, while real scenarios are the truth.

  6. The use of ‘ideal’ scientifically and conceptually signifies an unattainable best-case scenario to conceptualize facts for best-case results. ‘Real’ conveys something that actually exists and is tangible.

  7. In philosophical terms, ‘real’ refers to tangible things, while ‘ideal’ signifies theoretical constructs. The ideal is theoretical and perfect, while the real is practical and imperfect.

  8. When referring to what’s ideal, we’re talking about the best situation and notions of excellence. The word real alludes to something that is genuine, tangible, and true.


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