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

  • n. A short poem or prose piece depicting a rural or pastoral scene, usually in idealized terms.
  • n. A narrative poem treating an epic or romantic theme.
  • n. A scene or event of a simple and tranquil nature.
  • n. A carefree episode or experience: a summer idyll on the coast of France.
  • n. A romantic interlude.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any poem or short written piece composed in the style of Theocritus's short pastoral poems, the Idylls.
  • n. An episode or series of events or circumstances of pastoral or rural simplicity, fit for an idyll; a carefree or lighthearted experience.
  • n. A composition, usually instrumental, of a pastoral or sentimental character, e.g. Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner.

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

  • n. an episode of such pastoral or romantic charm as to qualify as the subject of a poetic idyll
  • n. a musical composition that evokes rural life
  • n. a short poem descriptive of rural or pastoral life


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

Latin īdyllium, from Greek eidullion, diminutive of eidos, form, figure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin īdyllium, from Ancient Greek εἰδύλλιον (eidullion), from diminutive of εἶδος (eidos, "form, shape").


  • In so far as the idyll is a signifier to which a real world referent can be attached -- pre-industrial culture, medieval society, etc. -- we might be dubious of a restoration that is essentially an act of validation.

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • However much we can all appreciate the arguments in favour of renting, most of us still hanker after the long-term idyll of bricks, mortar and a white picket fence.

    Are we better off renting?

  • But the idyll is soon broken when the past rushes back to threaten the Amnipours once more, and the lives they left behind in revolution-era Iran bleed into the present.

    Pomegranate Soup: Summary and book reviews of Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran.

  • However, the tourist idyll is a façade and, in fact, Jelinek depicts a camouflaged dead landscape where neither the past nor the future exists.

    Elfriede Jelinek: Provocation as the Breath of Life

  • The idyll is very short lived, however, and paradise is lost when Inkle returns with Yarico to Jamaica where he attempts to sell her into slavery.

    Savage Boundaries

  • Astrid worships her mother and cherishes their private world full of ritual and mystery-but their idyll is shattered when Astrid's mother falls apart over a lover.

    White Oleander: Summary and book reviews of White Oleander by Janet Fitch.

  • But the idyll is short lived as Hanna disappears from his life, only to resurface in a courtroom where she is being tried for iniquitous past which she had hidden from him.

    The Times of India

  • This idyll is short-lived as the elephantine squall of S.O.S. rears its panicky, hard-riffing head.

    The Line Of Best Fit

  • I mean, you've got all the Virgilian stuff, which is totally about the idyll, and you have opening and closing sections which state pretty blatantly "This is in the Epic idiom", the spin I'm trying to put on it, I guess, being that the idyll is here and now, inside us, if we want it to be, if we recognise it.

    Of Genres and Sub-Genres

  • Developing ideas of contemporary rural idyll, Dr Jones will explore questions of rural sustainability and how the idea of idyll should be approached through notions of performative practice. Current News - Top Stories


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • If I had been so lucky as to have a steady brother

    Who could talk to me as we are talking now to one another –

    Who could give me good advice when he discovered I was erring

    (Which is just the very favour which on you I am conferring),

    My existence would have made a rather interesting idyll,

    And I might have lived and died a very decent indiwiddle.

    This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter

    Isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter!

    -- W.S. Gilbert, Ruddigore

    August 21, 2008