Definition of idyll in English:



  • 1An extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque period or situation, typically an idealized or unsustainable one.

    ‘the rural idyll remains strongly evocative in most industrialized societies’
    • ‘But like most rural idylls everything is not as it seems, the club suffers from more than its fair share of vandalism.’
    • ‘So even if a group is composed exclusively of altruists, all behaving nicely towards each other, it only takes a single selfish mutant to bring an end to this happy idyll.’
    • ‘And were any of the shops in this mono-cultural rural idyll aware that it is the Jewish festival of Purim?’
    • ‘But just as it was in Buchan's day, the idyll is illusory.’
    • ‘On the big screen, however, Oban has always been portrayed as a pastoral idyll.’
    • ‘It might be associations, such as memories of holidays, pastoral idylls, the peacefulness, the slower pace, or a whole imagined way of life.’
    • ‘Just like Rousseau, Finlay has created an art which sets the notion of the Arcadian idyll against mankind's extreme barbarity.’
    • ‘New Yorker Colin Brant's two naive-style oil paintings evoke otherworldly idylls with manicured grass, trees and happy, relaxed people.’
    • ‘Born in 1901, her childhood was a happy idyll enough until World War One awakened her to reality.’
    • ‘Now the proposals have been approved by planning officers and the final hurdle to the creation of their perfect rural idyll has been crossed.’
    • ‘And then aspects of war burst upon their peaceful idyll.’
    • ‘The sniper was merely a rupture in the domestic idyll of Virginian life: everything around was peaceful.’
    • ‘Lambs are the icons of the rural idyll, the faces that grace a thousand Lake District postcards and the sight that brightens the spirits of even the most jaded commuters as they flash past Cumbrian hills.’
    • ‘Some highlights from the research shows that those firms looking beyond Dublin to get out of the traffic jams may not fare any better by chasing the rural idyll.’
    • ‘The ‘quality of life index’ suggests the happiest Scots live in the Highlands where the rural idyll of low crime, a strong sense of community and good health remains largely intact.’
    • ‘He started painting rural idylls featuring churches and meadows which he intended to sell to the urban bourgeoisie.’
    • ‘The concrete, pebble-dashed trees under the plaque suggest that this form of community history is made up of a hankering back to a rural idyll, but one that is compromised already by the urban.’
    • ‘Goth, however, was one style that did achieve some form of visibility - although you'll note that I say the late 1980s because, like most things, it took a few years to make its way out to our rural idyll.’
    • ‘But in the weeks ahead the concept of Europe is going to be more than just a bureaucratic nightmare or a holiday idyll.’
    • ‘Public entertainment can go ahead at the Barge Inn at Honeystreet despite some strenuous opposition from neighbours wanting to preserve their rural idyll.’
    perfect time, ideal time, wonderful time, moment of bliss, honeymoon
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    1. 1.1 A short description in verse or prose of a picturesque scene or incident, especially in rustic life.
      • ‘Patchett takes her time getting there, but by the climax of her story, you find yourself hoping that the idyll will - somehow, magically - last.’
      • ‘Arcadian idylls are also a prolific feature of writing in the 18th and 19th centuries.’
      • ‘If the first half of the novel is an idyll, the second half shifts to romance.’
      • ‘The verdant landscapes and the warm, sunny color palette enhance the sense of the story as an idyll, a brief golden interval amid the dark uncertainty of war.’
      • ‘Clearly the poetry is more than music, idylls and dreams; I would argue that Hyde knows full well that language makes itself part of what it refers to.’
      pastoral, eclogue, georgic, rural poem
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Late 16th century (in the Latin form): from Latin idyllium, from Greek eidullion, diminutive of eidos ‘form, picture’.