Definition of idol in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʌɪd(ə)l/


1An image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.
Example sentences
  • 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.
icon, god, image, likeness, fetish, totem, statue, figure, figurine, doll, carving;
graven image, false god, effigy, golden calf
1.1A person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered: a soccer idol
More example sentences
  • 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.
hero, heroine, star, superstar, icon, celebrity, celebutante;
favourite, darling, beloved, pet, apple of one's eye
informal pin-up, heart throb, blue-eyed boy/girl, golden boy/girl
North American informal fair-haired boy/girl


Middle English: from Old French idole, from Latin idolum 'image, form' (used in ecclesiastical Latin in the sense 'idol'), from Greek eidōlon, from eidos 'form, shape'.

  • 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’.

Words that rhyme with idol

bridal, bridle, fratricidal, genocidal, germicidal, homicidal, idle, infanticidal, insecticidal, intertidal, matricidal, parricidal, patricidal, pesticidal, regicidal, sidle, suicidal, tidal, tyrannicidal, uxoricidal

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: idol

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