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or idyl

[ahyd-l] /ˈaɪd l/
a poem or prose composition, usually describing pastoral scenes or events or any charmingly simple episode, appealing incident, or the like.
a simple descriptive or narrative piece in verse or prose.
material suitable for such a work.
an episode or scene of idyllic charm.
a brief or inconsequential romantic affair.
Music. a composition, usually instrumental, of a pastoral or sentimental character.
Origin of idyll
1595-1605; < Latin īdyllium < Greek eidýllion short pastoral poem, equivalent to eíd(os) form + -yllion diminutive suffix
Can be confused
idle, idol, idyll (see synonym study at idle) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for idyl
Historical Examples
  • There is an idyllic beauty about the first chapters of the book, but "Growth of the Soil" is not primarily an idyl.

    Knut Hamsun Hanna Astrup Larsen
  • The beauty of his poem, its idyl, came to him like a caress; that alone had been lacking.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • Their achievements, narrated in the twenty-second idyl, may be compared with those of Tristram and Lancelot.

  • Then the death of Morny seems to turn the idyl into a tragedy, but only for a moment.

    The Nabob Alphonse Daudet
  • The descriptive name for all these tales, except the last, is idyl.

    Essays on Scandinavian Literature Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
  • After the stormy days we had just gone through, this morning passed like an idyl.

  • In the proem to this idyl I seem to see two shadowy figures passing up and down over a lonesome land.

    Summer Cruising in the South Seas Charles Warren Stoddard
  • The solution of this problem is properly what ought to be given us by the theory of the idyl.

    The Aesthetical Essays Friedrich Schiller
  • It is evidently suggested by the fifth idyl of Theocritus, and is a fair specimen of a very uncommon class in English.

  • Only singing-birds were lacking to complete the idyl of spring.

    The Woman from Outside Hulbert Footner
British Dictionary definitions for idyl


a poem or prose work describing an idealized rural life, pastoral scenes, etc
any simple narrative or descriptive piece in poetry or prose
a charming or picturesque scene or event
a piece of music with a calm or pastoral character
Word Origin
C17: from Latin īdyllium, from Greek eidullion, from eidos shape, (literary) form
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for idyl



also idyl, c.1600, "picturesque pastoral poem," from Latin idyllium, from Greek eidyllion "short, descriptive poem, usually of rustic or pastoral type," literally "a little picture," diminutive of eidos "form" (see -oid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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