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idolater

or i·dol·a·tor

[ ahy-dol-uh-ter ]
/ aɪˈdɒl ə tər /
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noun

Also i·dol·ist [ahyd-l-ist]. /ˈaɪd l ɪst/. a worshiper of idols.
a person who is an immoderate admirer; devotee.

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Origin of idolater

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English idolatrer, equivalent to idolatr(ie) “idolatry” + -er noun suffix (-rer changed to -er by dissimilation); see origin at idolatry, -er2

OTHER WORDS FROM idolater

self-i·dol·a·ter, noun

Words nearby idolater

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does idolater mean?

An idolater is someone who worships an idol or idols—objects or images, such as statues, that are worshipped as the representations of deities or gods.

It is sometimes spelled idolator. A common synonym is idol worshipper. A less common synonym is idolist.

The word idol can also refer to the deity or god that is being worshipped.

The worship of such an idol is sometimes called idolatry (or idol worship). The adjective idolatrous can be used to describe idolaters or their practices.

This sense of idolator and its related terms are typically used in a negative, judgmental way, implying that the god that the idolater worships is not actually real and that such worship is wrong or sinful.

A well-known example of an idol mentioned in a story in the Bible is the statue of a golden calf that the Israelites were said to have made while Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments (which prohibit the worship of idols or “graven images”).

Sometimes, idol is used in a metaphorical way to compare something to an object of religious devotion and worship, and idolater can refer to a person who’s devoted to such a thing, as in Her love of money has made her an idolater. This sense of the word is also used in a critical way.

Idol is also commonly used in a figurative way to refer to a person, especially a famous celebrity such as a pop singer, whom someone treats with extreme admiration and devotion. The word sometimes implies that such devotion is excessive, likening it to religious worship. The word idolater can be used to refer to this kind of fan, but it is much more commonly used in a religious context.

Example: Followers of certain forms of Christianity are sometimes accused of being idolaters by other Christians, who object to their use of religious iconography.

Where does idolater come from?

The first records of the word idolater come from the 1300s. The word idol comes from the Greek eídōlon, meaning “image,” from eîdos, meaning “shape and form.” In idolatry, the ending -latry means “worship.” The suffix -er refers to a person who does a certain thing. So, taken together, the parts of the word idolater literally mean “someone who worships images.”

Although the word idol can refer to a deity being worshipped, it typically refers to a physical object or image that has been made to represent the deity. Some religions prohibit any such likenesses of a deity or religious figure, considering anyone who uses such images to be an idolater.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to idolater?

What are some synonyms for idolater?

  • idol worshipper
  • idolist
  • idolatrizer

What are some words that share a root or word element with idolater

What are some words that often get used in discussing idolater?

 

How is idolater used in real life?

The word idolater is usually used in a judgmental way regardless of whether it’s used figuratively or in a religious context.

 

Try using idolater!

Which of the following terms can be used as a synonym of idolater?

A. idol worshipper
B. idle worshipper
C. idyll worshipper
D. ideal worshipper

Example sentences from the Web for idolater

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