\ ˈī-dᵊl \

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


god, hero, icon (also ikon)

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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

Tiki idols, masks, torches, cocktails, decor and clothing were all the rage in the 1950s. Pam Kragen,, "Escondido's influential tiki man 'Bosko' is subject of new film," 8 July 2018 One of Ariza’s childhood basketball idols was former Suns guard Penny Hardaway. azcentral, "Phoenix Suns introduce NBA free agent signing Trevor Ariza at news conference," 6 July 2018 Film idol looks and a mellifluous baritone certainly are a part of his appeal. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 8: Machine Gun Kelly, Brett Young and more," 5 July 2018 In an industry where, until recently, careers for idol pop acts rarely exceeded a decade, SuJu has once again reasserted their worth as one of the most impactful Korean artists internationally. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "Super Junior Talk Their K-Pop Legacy, Songwriting & 'Lo Siento'," 27 June 2018 Frequent trips to the salon are just another strenuous part of the idol lifestyle. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Why It's Such a Big Deal When a K-Pop Star Dyes Their Hair," 21 June 2018 Though the Masters experience was memorable for so many moments — a practice round with idol Tiger Woods, an eagle and crystal reward — the golf itself was disappointing, as Parziale failed to make the cut. Tara Sullivan,, "Brockton firefighter Matt Parziale opens with 74 at US Open," 14 June 2018 The concept of concepts Prior to the big airport reveal, extensive planning goes into picking what color dye is brushed onto an idol's hair. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Why It's Such a Big Deal When a K-Pop Star Dyes Their Hair," 21 June 2018 Meade Esposito, the chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party — and someone Donald Trump listed as his political idol — once took a New York Times reporter out to lunch at Foffe’s Restaurant on Montague Street. David Freedlander, Daily Intelligencer, "Not That Long Ago, New York City Really Was Run From a Smoke-filled Backroom," 14 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to idol

fallen idol

Statistics for idol

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for idol

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of idol

1 : an image worshipped as a god

2 : a much loved or admired person or thing a movie idol

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Comments on idol

What made you want to look up idol? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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