or i·dyl

  1. a poem or prose composition, usually describing pastoral scenes or events or any charmingly simple episode, appealing incident, or the like.
  2. a simple descriptive or narrative piece in verse or prose.
  3. material suitable for such a work.
  4. an episode or scene of idyllic charm.
  5. a brief or inconsequential romantic affair.
  6. Music. a composition, usually instrumental, of a pastoral or sentimental character.

Origin of idyll

1595–1605; < Latin īdyllium < Greek eidýllion short pastoral poem, equivalent to eíd(os) form + -yllion diminutive suffix
Can be confusedidle idol idyll (see synonym study at idle) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for idyl

Historical Examples of idyl

  • But there was quite another side to their idyl, and Marianne mentioned it to her husband.


    Emile Zola

  • Their life in its own way was an idyl, and it managed to achieve a singular beauty.

    The Moon and Sixpence

    W. Somerset Maugham

  • Then the death of Morny seems to turn the idyl into a tragedy, but only for a moment.

    The Nabob

    Alphonse Daudet

  • The love story which runs through the book, like a golden thread, is an idyl.

    In Blue Creek Caon

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • On one occasion I referred to his life in the Bad Lands as "a kind of idyl."

British Dictionary definitions for idyl


sometimes US idyl

  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
  3. a charming or picturesque scene or event
  4. a piece of music with a calm or pastoral character

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for idyl



also idyl, c.1600, "picturesque pastoral poem," from Latin idyllium, from Greek eidyllion "short, descriptive poem, usually of rustic or pastoral type," literally "a little picture," diminutive of eidos "form" (see -oid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper