Definition of idol in English:
- These were, we must remember, unbelieving Gentiles, worshipers of idols and knew very little of the Jewish religion.
- In theological terms this led into seeing it as defined through the worship of God and idols.
- Some of the children of Israel had begun to stray after the daughters of Moav and to worship their idols.
- What friend, dignitary, hero, sports idol, movie star, etc. might we ask over to eat with us?
- But he was also a keen footballer who admired his idols Manchester United and who enjoyed a kickabout with friends.
- We change our tastes and opinions with the same blinding speed that TV can make you famous or the press turn on idols they once loved.
Both idyll (late 16th century) and idol go back to Greek eidos ‘form, shape, picture’. Its earliest uses in English were for false gods, images that people revered as objects of worship, and that Jewish and Christian tradition condemned. Outside religion, any object of excessive devotion has been called an idol since the mid 16th century, mainly in a condemnatory way. No one wanted to be a pop idol until the end of the 20th century, but in the 21st century it is such a common ambition that the reality TV contest Pop Idol has been an outstanding success. It is the ‘picture’ element that is prominent in idyll—a picture in words. When English adopted the word it meant ‘description of a picturesque scene or incident’, which is the sense in the title of Alfred Lord Tennyson's series of poems based on Arthurian legend, The Idylls of the King. Tennyson's popularization of the term in the mid 19th century led to the word idyllic and the development of the usual modern sense, ‘an extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque period or situation’.
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