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

Examples of idol in a Sentence

an actor who is the idol of millions a movie star whose portrayal of a comic book superhero in a blockbuster series has made him the idol of millions
Recent Examples on the Web When her cancer diagnosis came, in 1973, Darling resigned herself to dying young like her tragic blond idols. Mayukh Sen, The Atlantic, 9 Apr. 2024 Few teen idols have managed the transition to adulthood as successfully as these three brothers. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 7 Apr. 2024 Shaun appeared in The Hardy Boys Mysteries and achieved pop idol status, later becoming a producer and writer. Julie Tremaine, Peoplemag, 6 Apr. 2024 Epps has long expressed an interest in playing one of his comedic idols, Richard Pryor, in a biopic. The Indianapolis Star, 8 Mar. 2024 Trump, bear in mind, is the idol of Republicans from coast to coast. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 7 Mar. 2024 An early idol and later an influence was dance icon Debbie Allen, whose multi-hyphenate career would inspire Sandifer’s own. Darrell Smith, Sacramento Bee, 28 Mar. 2024 While Ben entered tribal with no vote, Jem walked in with an idol and Maria had an extra vote. Brian Anthony Hernandez, Peoplemag, 28 Mar. 2024 Maria found the clue and the rest of her tribe watched her dig under a tree root for an idol that isn't there. Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, 21 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'idol.' 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, from Anglo-French idle, from Late Latin idolum, from Greek eidōlon image, idol; akin to Greek eidos form — more at idyll

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near idol

Cite this Entry

“Idol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idol. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: an image worshipped as a god
: a greatly loved and admired person or thing

More from Merriam-Webster on idol

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