Definition of golden calf in US English:

golden calf

noun

  • 1(in the Bible) an image of gold in the shape of a calf, made by Aaron in response to the Israelites' plea for a god while they awaited Moses' return from Mount Sinai, where he was receiving the Ten Commandments (Exod. 32).

    • ‘On their journey to the promised land, Aaron and the children of Israel craft a golden calf and worship it, crediting it with their rescue from Egypt.’
    • ‘In despair, the people turned to Aaron to build them a golden calf.’
    • ‘Since Moses was gone so long, his brother, Aaron, at the request of the people built a golden calf that they all worshipped.’
    • ‘While Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days receiving the laws for Israel, the Israelites persuaded Aaron to make a golden calf, and they worshipped it.’
    • ‘As with the incident of the golden calf only a small percentage of the people sinned, yet the entire nation is held accountable.’
    idol, icon, fetish, false god, totem, talisman
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A false god, especially wealth as an object of worship.
      • ‘Listen: they want us to feel impotent, to worship the golden calf of commercialism, dazzled and opiated by its pale buzzing glow.’
      • ‘As one trained in the biological sciences, I find the willingness of theologians to bow down to the modern golden calf of ‘science’ somewhat perplexing.’
      • ‘We must learn to feed ourselves and our visitors if we are to have any impact on the tourism industry which is the golden calf that we are told will bring economic benefits that are not possible with agriculture.’
      • ‘The Chinese government is doing some of the thinking on this, but expensive studies tend to get swept under the carpet when the golden calf of a booming motor industry presents itself.’
      • ‘As Sartre admitted in his eulogy, ‘He reaffirmed the existence of moral fact within the heart of our era against the Machiavellians, against the golden calf of realism.’’

Pronunciation

golden calf

/ˈɡōldən kaf/