idol·​a·​try ī-ˈdä-lə-trē How to pronounce idolatry (audio)
plural idolatries
: the worship of a physical object as a god
: immoderate attachment or devotion to something

Examples of idolatry in a Sentence

fans of the team are well known for their idolatry of the quarterback
Recent Examples on the Web But because the Israelites atoned for their sin of idolatry, God forgave them and offered Moses a second set of tablets. Alesandra Dubin, Good Housekeeping, 22 Aug. 2023 There might be love, adulation, desire, idolatry (the affects of positive transference)—or anxiety, frailty, jealousy, and anger (the affects of negative transference). Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 11 July 2023 Might a new life, and a new identity, even be obtainable for Hazel, in a roundabout way, from the idolatry being showered on her sister? Don Aucoin,, 5 June 2023 Two decades later, guitar music and rock and roll are still omnipresent, shapeshifting into new, subversive forms that can make Finn’s idolatry feel distant and dusty. Luke Ottenhof, Billboard, 13 Apr. 2023 Joe Biden inspires no such idolatry. Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2022 Thus the penalty intrinsic to idolatry. Alan Jacobs, Harper's Magazine, 12 Oct. 2021 And because Wahhabist clerics saw preservation of heritage as a form of idolatry, most historic sites — even religiously significant ones such as the house where the prophet Muhammad is thought to have been born — were neglected or even bulldozed to make way for expansion of cities. Nabih Bulosforeign Correspondent, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2023 This is idolatry; this is also a kind of madness. Alan Jacobs, Harper's Magazine, 12 Oct. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'idolatry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near idolatry

Cite this Entry

“Idolatry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


idol·​a·​try ī-ˈdäl-ə-trē How to pronounce idolatry (audio)
plural idolatries
: the worship of an idol as a god
: very great attachment or devotion to something

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