or i·dyl

[ ahyd-l ]
See synonyms for idyll on
  1. a delightful, tranquil rural scene or episode, reminiscent of or suitable for pastoral art or literature:A great many horror movies are set in a suburban idyll.

  2. a short descriptive or narrative poem or prose work, depicting a pleasant, tranquil, idealized pastoral scene or event, or any charmingly simple episode in literature.

  1. A long narrative poem on a major theme, but less elevated and formal in subject matter, language, and tone than an epic:Tennyson's Idylls of the King is an elegaic retelling of Arthurian legend.

  2. a brief or inconsequential romantic affair.

  3. Music. a composition, usually instrumental, of a pastoral or sentimental character.

Origin of idyll

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Latin īdyllium from Greek eidýllion “short pastoral poem,” equivalent to eíd(os) “form” + -yllion diminutive suffix

Words that may be confused with idyll Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use idyll in a sentence

  • It is not fanciful, with talking beasts, nor is it merely an exquisite idyl of the beasts themselves.

    The Red Year | Louis Tracy
  • After a perusal of this new American idyl, no competent critic will contend that we lack proper themes for poetry in our own land.

  • As time went on, alas, it came more and more to seem that the Dorothea idyl had not been meant to be taken as a work of realism.

    Love's Pilgrimage | Upton Sinclair
  • A rest-breathing idyl like this shows that it is possible for bits of heaven to appear here upon earth now and then!

    The American Country Girl | Martha Foote Crow
  • The ancient garden had doubtless many a dream of love to keep, but none sweeter or truer than the idyl of Tyrrel and Ethel Rawdon.

    The Man Between | Amelia E. Barr

British Dictionary definitions for idyll


sometimes US idyl

/ (ˈɪdɪl) /

  1. a poem or prose work describing an idealized rural life, pastoral scenes, etc

  2. any simple narrative or descriptive piece in poetry or prose

  1. a charming or picturesque scene or event

  2. a piece of music with a calm or pastoral character

Origin of idyll

C17: from Latin īdyllium, from Greek eidullion, from eidos shape, (literary) form

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