idol·​a·​try | \ ī-ˈdä-lə-trē How to pronounce idolatry (audio) \
plural idolatries

Definition of idolatry

1 : the worship of a physical object as a god
2 : immoderate attachment or devotion to something

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of idolatry in a Sentence

her idolatry of her favorite rock star is one step removed from stalking
Recent Examples on the Web Religious conservatism had its counterpart in political conservatism, expressed in almost an idolatry of the federal Constitution as interpreted by the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of 1798. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, "The Christian Devotion to a White America," 10 Aug. 2020 Through their voices, Vollmann gives a documentary accounting of life on the margins, riffing on such themes as bigotry, idolatry, gender fluidity, vulnerability, consent, resilience and love. Jen Mcdonald, New York Times, "A Lesbian Who’s Not a Lesbian Walks Into a Bar, and ...," 18 Feb. 2020 As with any novel featuring a distant object of idolatry, this one succeeds only to the extent that Margo is worth getting to know. Kaitlin Phillips, New York Times, "What if Gatsby Worked at a Tech Start-Up?," 10 Mar. 2020 In this, Cardinal Müller sees idolatry and a satanic desecration. Daniel J. Mahoney, National Review, "Pope Francis, Wayward Shepherd," 6 Feb. 2020 The rupture was provoked by papal rulings that ancestor worship and Confucian rites were pagan idolatry. The Economist, "Chaguan Communism is not what worries the world about China’s Communist Party," 18 Dec. 2019 Most Americans know little about the monotheistic faith founded more than 500 years ago in India’s northern Punjab region that rejects the caste system and idolatry. Washington Post, "Sikh preaches love 18 years after brother killed over turban," 15 Sep. 2019 Such is the reality The Boys reveals behind the idolatry: greed and grift and outright homicide, all the while preaching exceptionalism and sanctimony to the outside world. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Amazon's The Boys Tests the Limits of Superhero Fatigue," 26 July 2019 These are not poems of regional idolatry; these are poems which grapple with the world and man’s place within it. Tyler Malone,, "The road taken by Robert Frost through New England," 29 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of idolatry

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for idolatry

Middle English ydolatrie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin idolatria, alteration of Late Latin idololatria, from Greek eidōlolatreia, from eidōlon idol + -latreia -latry

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about idolatry

Time Traveler for idolatry

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for idolatry

Last Updated

23 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idolatry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for idolatry


How to pronounce idolatry (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of idolatry

: the worship of a picture or object as a god

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on idolatry

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!