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Ideally vs. Idealistically: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 18, 2024
"Ideally" refers to something in its most perfect form, while "idealistically" pertains to thinking or behaving based on ideals, often unrealistically.

Key Differences

"Ideally" is used to describe a situation or condition in its most perfect or desirable form. In contrast, "idealistically" involves a viewpoint or approach that is guided by lofty or unrealistic ideals rather than practical considerations.
When something is described as being done "ideally," it implies a scenario where all conditions are optimal or perfect. On the other hand, acting "idealistically" often means pursuing ideals without regard for practicality or feasibility.
The term "ideally" is often used in planning or discussing preferred outcomes, emphasizing practicality and realism. Conversely, "idealistically" is more about adhering to one's ideals, sometimes to the point of being impractical or naive.
In usage, "ideally" is generally associated with realistic expectations or best-case scenarios in real-world conditions. In contrast, "idealistically" is linked with a focus on ideals and values, sometimes at the expense of practicality.
"Ideally" reflects a balance between what is desired and what is achievable, highlighting an optimal yet attainable goal. "Idealistically," however, suggests a pursuit of perfection or idealism, often disregarding the limitations of reality.

Comparison Chart


In a perfect or optimal manner
Guided by or relating to ideals


More realistic and attainable
Often unrealistic


Practicality and feasibility
Ideals and perfection

Usage Context

Practical planning, realistic expectations
Pursuit of high ideals, often ignoring practical limits


Achievable and desired outcome
Lofty goals, possibly impractical

Ideally and Idealistically Definitions


In the best possible manner.
Ideally, the project will be completed by next month.


With a tendency towards idealism, often unrealistically.
He idealistically hoped for a society without poverty.


Reflecting an ideal or perfect scenario.
Ideally, everyone would have access to quality education.


Based on high ideals and principles.
She idealistically believed in the power of world peace.


Representing an optimum condition.
Ideally, we would meet our sales targets without any delays.


In a manner that emphasizes ideals over practicality.
They approached the problem idealistically, ignoring the budget constraints.


Describing a desirable but not necessarily realistic outcome.
Ideally, we would avoid all traffic on our road trip.


Reflecting an overly optimistic view of the world.
Idealistically, he thought everyone would agree with his plan.


Used to express a wish or preference in an ideal world.
Ideally, we would work a four-day week.


Pursuing ideals without considering real-world limitations.
She campaigned idealistically for change, despite political opposition.


In conformity with an ideal; perfectly.


Of, relating to, or having the nature of an idealist or idealism.


In theory or imagination; theoretically.


In an idealistic manner.


In an ideal way; perfectly.


Given ideal circumstances; preferably.
Ideally, we would have one textbook per student, but unfortunately some of you will have to share.


In an ideal manner; by means of ideals; mentally.


In an ideal manner;
Ideally, this will remove all problems


Does "idealistically" imply impracticality?

Often, yes, as it focuses on ideals potentially at the expense of practicality.

Can "ideally" refer to a compromise?

Yes, it can imply a balance between ideal and achievable.

Is "ideally" about practicality?

Yes, it often relates to practical and achievable scenarios.

Do people use "ideally" in everyday conversation?

Yes, it's common in discussions about preferred outcomes.

How is "idealistically" used?

It describes actions or thoughts based on high ideals, often unrealistically.

What does "ideally" mean?

It refers to something in its most perfect or desirable form.

Can "ideally" and "idealistically" be used interchangeably?

No, they have different meanings and implications.

Is "idealistically" always negative?

Not necessarily, it can be positive when it inspires positive change.

Are there synonyms for "ideally"?

Yes, like "optimally" or "preferably."

What are synonyms for "idealistically"?

Words like "utopianly" or "romantically."

Can "ideally" be used in planning?

Yes, it's often used in setting realistic goals.

Is "idealistically" linked to naivety?

It can be, when ideals are pursued without regard to reality.

Does "idealistically" always disregard practicality?

Often, but not always; it depends on the context.

Is "idealistically" useful in motivating people?

Yes, it can inspire people to aim for high ideals.

Is "idealistically" used more in philosophical contexts?

Generally, yes, especially when discussing ideals or theories.

Does "ideally" pertain to perfection?

It implies the best possible scenario, though not necessarily perfect.

Can businesses operate "ideally"?

Yes, when they aim for optimal and realistic outcomes.

Can a person be both "ideally" and "idealistically" minded?

Yes, one can have practical goals but also be guided by high ideals.

Can "ideally" be realistic?

Yes, it often incorporates realistic elements.

Is "idealistically" a practical approach in politics?

It can be, but it often clashes with practical political realities.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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