Definition of eidolon in US English:


nounPlural eidola, Plural eidolons

  • 1An idealized person or thing.

    • ‘The subjectification of the beloved in Petrarchan lyric entails the internalization of a feminine image, an eidolon rather than an objectively real presence.’
  • 2A specter or phantom.

    • ‘Plotinus, however, described the body itself as an eidolon - a simulacrum or phantom - of the soul: for him, the physical body was less real than the soul, and the soul in turn less real than divine Being.’
    • ‘The ancients called these human shadows, shades; modern children and nursemaids call them ghosts and spooks; and each such shade is but an eidolon.’
    • ‘This was a false assumption; Jone was well-versed in the holy scriptures, and it was whispered that he had the ability to conjure up eidolons and spirits.’
    spectre, phantom, wraith, spirit, soul, shadow, presence
    View synonyms


Early 19th century: from Greek eidōlon, from eidos ‘form’.