[ ahyd-l-ahyz ]
/ ˈaɪd lˌaɪz /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: idolize / idolized / idolization / idolizer on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), i·dol·ized, i·dol·iz·ing.

to regard with blind adoration, devotion, etc.
to worship as a god.

verb (used without object), i·dol·ized, i·dol·iz·ing.

to practice idolatry: to idolize as did ancient Greece and Rome.



Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.
Also especially British, i·dol·ise .

Origin of idolize

First recorded in 1590–1600; idol + -ize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does idolize mean?

To idolize someone is to treat them with extreme admiration and devotion.

This sense of the word is based on the figurative use of the word idol to refer to a person, especially a famous celebrity such as a pop singer, whose fans are extremely devoted to them. The noun form idolization refers to this kind of hero worship. A synonym of this sense of idolize is the slang verb stan.

The words idol and idolize sometimes imply that such devotion is excessive, likening it to religious worship. This is based on the original sense of the word idol referring to an object or image, such as a statue, that is worshiped as the representation of a deity or god. The word idol can also refer to the deity or god that is being worshiped.

The worship of such an idol is sometimes called idolatry (or idol worship) and the people who do it can be called idolaters. The word idolize can also mean to practice idolatry, though it is much more commonly used in a figurative way. A synonym of this sense of idolize is idolatrize, but it is not commonly used.

In a religious context, words like idol and idolize are typically used in a negative, judgmental way, implying that the god that the idol represents is not actually real and that such worship is wrong or sinful.

Sometimes, idol is used in a metaphorical way to compare something to an object of religious devotion and worship, and idolize can also be used in this context, as in She idolizes money. This sense of the word is also used in a critical way.

A close synonym of all senses of the word idolize is worship.

Example: The trouble with idolizing people is that you start to model your behavior on them while ignoring their faults.

Where does idolize come from?

The first records of the word idolize come from the late 1500s. The word idol comes from the Greek eídōlon, meaning “image,” from eîdos, meaning “shape and form.” The suffix -ize means to “make,” “render,” or “convert into.”

Idolizing someone converts them into an idol—the subject of almost religious devotion. Idolize should not be confused with the verb idealize, which means to consider or represent something as perfect or without any flaws. Fans who idolize a star also tend to idealize them by ignoring their flaws or perhaps not recognizing them at all.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to idolize?

  • idolization (noun)
  • idolizer (noun)
  • idol (noun)

What are some synonyms for idolize?

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



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



What are some words idolize may be commonly confused with?

How is idolize used in real life?

Idolize is commonly used in the context of extreme fans of pop stars. It often implies that such idolization is like religious worship. For this reason, it is often (though not always) used in a somewhat negative way.

Try using idolize!

Is idolize used correctly in the following sentence?

“American teenagers idolized Elvis Presley as a rock-’n-roll icon in the 1950s.”

British Dictionary definitions for idolize



/ (ˈaɪdəˌlaɪz) /


(tr) to admire or revere greatly
(tr) to worship as an idol
(intr) to worship idols
idolism, idolization or idolisation, nounidolist, idolizer or idoliser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
What's This Word?