idol

An idol can be a religious image or a person who people admire and maybe even seem to worship. A statue of a Hindu god is a religious idol, but Madame Curie is an idol to aspiring scientists.

The word idol comes from the Old French idole for "pagan god," through the Greek eidolon for “reflection in water or a mirror.” In religion, an idol isn’t the real deity but a representation of it. These days, rock stars and celebrities are idols, but so are scientists and writers. If you say Flannery O’ Connor is your idol, you don’t mean you bow down before a statue of the Southern writer, it just means you admire her big time.

Primary Meanings of idol

1.
n
a material effigy that is worshipped
2.
n
an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept
Full Definitions of idol
1

n a material effigy that is worshipped

Synonyms:
god, graven image
Types:
golden calf
(Old Testament) an idol made by Aaron for the Israelites to worship; destroyed by Moses; it is now used to refer to anything worshipped undeservedly
joss
a Chinese god worshipped in the form of an idol
Juggernaut
a crude idol of Krishna
Type of:
effigy, image, simulacrum
a representation of a person (especially in the form of sculpture)

n someone who is adored blindly and excessively

Synonyms:
matinee idol
Types:
heartthrob
an object of infatuation
Type of:
lead, principal, star
an actor who plays a principal role
2

n an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept

Synonyms:
beau ideal, paragon, perfection
Types:
gold standard
a paragon of excellence
Type of:
ideal
the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain