\ 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 The original plan was me, Rob, Sandra, Jerri, Coach, and Tyson split the vote 3-3 between Russell and Parvati (because of an idol)., 10 Aug. 2021 Federer, who was seeded sixth at Wimbledon, has long been Hurkacz’s tennis idol, and in their only previous singles match, Federer beat him 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., in 2019. New York Times, 7 July 2021 She’s now the idol for a new generation, the ones who marvel at all the jumps and consume her endless stream of social media content with ravenous delight. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 16 June 2021 Ulven is one of the many burgeoning artists who cite Taylor Swift as an idol. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 10 May 2021 Parton is an idol in the entertainment industry, but many Tennesseans find her health advocacy to be just as iconic as her songs. Laken Brooks, Forbes, 28 Apr. 2021 But to the delight of fans of the Detroit Red Wings, who hold the sixth and 23rd picks, Edvinsson says his hockey idol is countryman and one-time Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom. Carol Schram, Forbes, 7 July 2021 Per the Times, Williams's fellow player 17-year-old Coco Gauff was watching from the Wimbledon gym and reportedly had to turn away from the television screen while her tennis idol was so clearly in pain during a crucial match. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, 30 June 2021 While preparing to play her idol in Respect, Hudson and Franklin spoke weekly. Jasmin Hernandez, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 Aug. 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

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Idol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 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

Nglish: Translation of idol for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of idol for Arabic Speakers


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