Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An image used as an object of worship.
  • n. A false god.
  • n. One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
  • n. Something visible but without substance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A graven image or representation of anything that is revered, or believed to convey spiritual power.
  • n. A cultural icon, or especially popular person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An image or representation of anything.
  • n. An image of a divinity; a representation or symbol of a deity or any other being or thing, made or used as an object of worship; a similitude of a false god.
  • n. That on which the affections are strongly (often excessively) set; an object of passionate devotion; a person or thing greatly loved or adored.
  • n. A false notion or conception; a fallacy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An image, effigy, figure, or likeness of anything.
  • n. An image or similitude of a divinity; a representation or symbol of a deity made, consecrated, or used as an object of worship.
  • n. Hence — A person on whom or a thing on which the affections are strongly set; any object of absorbing devotion other than God himself.
  • n. A phantom or figment of the brain; a false or misleading notion or conception; an erroneous persuasion; a fallacy. See idolon.
  • n. Bacon divided the fallacies or misconceptions that beset mankind into four classes:
  • n. idols of the tribe (idola tribus), fallacies incident to humanity in general;
  • n. idols of the den (idola specus), misapprehensions traceable to the peculiar mental or bodily constitution of the individual;
  • n. idols of the market-place (idola fori), errors due to the influence of mere words or phrases;
  • n. idols of the theatre (idola theatri), errors due to the prevalence of imperfect philosophic systems or misleading methods of demonstration.
  • To worship; make an idol of; idolize.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept
  • n. someone who is adored blindly and excessively
  • n. a material effigy that is worshipped

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French idole, from Late Latin īdōlum, from Greek eidōlon, phantom, idol, from eidos, form; see weid- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek εἴδωλον (eidōlon, "image, idol"), from εἶδος (eidos, "form"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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