- an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.
- an image of a deity other than God.
- the deity itself.
- any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion: Madame Curie had been her childhood idol.
- a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.
- a figment of the mind; fantasy.
- a false conception or notion; fallacy.
- a material object, esp a carved image, that is worshipped as a god
- Christianity Judaism any being (other than the one God) to which divine honour is paid
- a person who is revered, admired, or highly loved
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.