\ ˈī-dᵊl How to pronounce idol (audio) \

Definition of idol

1 : an object of extreme devotion a movie idol also : ideal sense 2
2 : a representation or symbol of an object of worship broadly : a false god
3a : a likeness of something
b obsolete : pretender, impostor
4 : a false conception : fallacy
5 : a form or appearance visible but without substance an enchanted phantom, a lifeless idol— P. B. Shelley

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Synonyms for idol


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Examples of idol in a Sentence

an actor who is the idol of millions a movie idol whose reprehensible offscreen behavior caused him to experience a spectacular fall from grace
Recent Examples on the Web To be fair, Rodrigo could simply be sitting on a trove of songs without much of an immediate agenda or with the plan to release them at a later date, similar to her idol and inspiration Taylor Swift. Natalie Morin,, 28 May 2021 This Sunday's episode will see the final four contestants Casey Bishop, Chayce Beckham, Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence perform their winner's singles, a song inspired by a personal idol and duets of tracks by guest mentor Finneas. Tomás Mier,, 14 May 2021 The top four will sing two additional songs: one that's inspired by their personal idol and another that marks the debut of their original single, which was produced by an iconic music producer. Heran Mamo, Billboard, 13 May 2021 Every Egyptian president has been called a pharaoh, considered an idol or a tyrant. Ursula Lindsey, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2021 Those people include his mom and dad, Gregg Popovich, David Robinson and Tim Duncan — who all had their doubts at first — and NBA greats Michael Jordan, his idol and future boss (sad), and a generous and funny Kobe Bryant (sadder). Jim Kiest,, 12 Jan. 2021 Construction of the idol took place over two sleepless nights. Dalton Ross,, 1 June 2021 My father was a great musician and kind of my idol. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 28 May 2021 Weberman was rummaging for clues, angling to unlock the mysteries of his idol: discarded song lyrics, intimate letters, something. John Semley, The New Republic, 26 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'idol.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of idol

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for idol

Middle English, from Anglo-French idle, from Late Latin idolum, from Greek eidōlon image, idol; akin to Greek eidos form — more at idyll

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Time Traveler for idol

Time Traveler

The first known use of idol was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

22 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Idol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for idol



English Language Learners Definition of idol

: a greatly loved or admired person
: a picture or object that is worshipped as a god


\ ˈī-dᵊl How to pronounce idol (audio) \

Kids Definition of idol

1 : an image worshipped as a god
2 : a much loved or admired person or thing a movie idol

More from Merriam-Webster on idol

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for idol

Nglish: Translation of idol for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of idol for Arabic Speakers


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