follow Dictionary.com

How Well Do You Know English Slang?

idol

[ahyd-l] /ˈaɪd l/
noun
1.
an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.
2.
Bible.
  1. an image of a deity other than God.
  2. the deity itself.
3.
any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion:
Madame Curie had been her childhood idol.
4.
a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.
5.
a figment of the mind; fantasy.
6.
a false conception or notion; fallacy.
Origin
1200-1250
1200-50; Middle English < Late Latin īdōlum < Greek eídōlon image, idol, derivative of eîdos shape, form
Can be confused
idle, idol, idyll (see synonym study at idle)
Synonyms
1. See image. 3. favorite, darling, pet.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for idol
  • Liquidity is the all-purpose idol for justifying all kinds of, at best, useless shenanigans.
  • McGraw gets the go-ahead, and with curtain time closing in, he's soon sitting in the presence of his idol.
  • Liquidity is the idol that is rolled out whenever there is talk of serious regulation of financial markets.
  • In its horror of sensuality, it made an idol of asceticism, which has been gradually compromised away into one of legality.
  • Instead, a separate idol has been installed for them at a different place.
British Dictionary definitions for idol

idol

/ˈaɪdəl/
noun
1.
a material object, esp a carved image, that is worshipped as a god
2.
(Christianity, Judaism) any being (other than the one God) to which divine honour is paid
3.
a person who is revered, admired, or highly loved
Word Origin
C13: from Late Latin īdōlum, from Latin: image, from Greek eidōlon, from eidos shape, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for idol
n.

mid-13c., "image of a deity as an object of (pagan) worship," from Old French idole "idol, graven image, pagan god," from Late Latin idolum "image (mental or physical), form," used in Church Latin for "false god," from Greek eidolon "appearance, reflection in water or a mirror," later "mental image, apparition, phantom," also "material image, statue," from eidos "form" (see -oid). Figurative sense of "something idolized" is first recorded 1560s (in Middle English the figurative sense was "someone who is false or untrustworthy"). Meaning "a person so adored" is from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
idol in Technology

Icon-Derived Object Language. An object-oriented preprocessor for Icon.
(ftp://src.doc.ic.ac.uk/pub/languages/icon/idol.tar.Z).
["Programming in Idol: An Object Primer", C.L. Jeffery, U Arizona CS TR #90-10].
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
idol in the Bible

(1.) Heb. aven, "nothingness;" "vanity" (Isa. 66:3; 41:29; Deut. 32:21; 1 Kings 16:13; Ps. 31:6; Jer. 8:19, etc.). (2.) 'Elil, "a thing of naught" (Ps. 97:7; Isa. 19:3); a word of contempt, used of the gods of Noph (Ezek. 30:13). (3.) 'Emah, "terror," in allusion to the hideous form of idols (Jer. 50:38). (4.) Miphletzeth, "a fright;" "horror" (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chr. 15:16). (5.) Bosheth, "shame;" "shameful thing" (Jer. 11:13; Hos. 9:10); as characterizing the obscenity of the worship of Baal. (6.) Gillulim, also a word of contempt, "dung;" "refuse" (Ezek. 16:36; 20:8; Deut. 29:17, marg.). (7.) Shikkuts, "filth;" "impurity" (Ezek. 37:23; Nah. 3:6). (8.) Semel, "likeness;" "a carved image" (Deut. 4:16). (9.) Tselem, "a shadow" (Dan. 3:1; 1 Sam. 6:5), as distinguished from the "likeness," or the exact counterpart. (10.) Temunah, "similitude" (Deut. 4:12-19). Here Moses forbids the several forms of Gentile idolatry. (11.) 'Atsab, "a figure;" from the root "to fashion," "to labour;" denoting that idols are the result of man's labour (Isa. 48:5; Ps. 139:24, "wicked way;" literally, as some translate, "way of an idol"). (12.) Tsir, "a form;" "shape" (Isa. 45:16). (13.) Matztzebah, a "statue" set up (Jer. 43:13); a memorial stone like that erected by Jacob (Gen. 28:18; 31:45; 35:14, 20), by Joshua (4:9), and by Samuel (1 Sam. 7:12). It is the name given to the statues of Baal (2 Kings 3:2; 10:27). (14.) Hammanim, "sun-images." Hamman is a synonym of Baal, the sun-god of the Phoenicians (2 Chr. 34:4, 7; 14:3, 5; Isa. 17:8). (15.) Maskith, "device" (Lev. 26:1; Num. 33:52). In Lev. 26:1, the words "image of stone" (A.V.) denote "a stone or cippus with the image of an idol, as Baal, Astarte, etc." In Ezek. 8:12, "chambers of imagery" (maskith), are "chambers of which the walls are painted with the figures of idols;" comp. ver. 10, 11. (16.) Pesel, "a graven" or "carved image" (Isa. 44:10-20). It denotes also a figure cast in metal (Deut. 7:25; 27:15; Isa. 40:19; 44:10). (17.) Massekah, "a molten image" (Deut. 9:12; Judg. 17:3, 4). (18.) Teraphim, pl., "images," family gods (penates) worshipped by Abram's kindred (Josh. 24:14). Put by Michal in David's bed (Judg. 17:5; 18:14, 17, 18, 20; 1 Sam. 19:13). "Nothing can be more instructive and significant than this multiplicity and variety of words designating the instruments and inventions of idolatry."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for idol

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for idol

5
6
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with idol