Definition of idyll in US English:



  • 1An extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque episode or scene, typically an idealized or unsustainable one.

    ‘the rural idyll remains strongly evocative in most industrialized societies’
    • ‘Born in 1901, her childhood was a happy idyll enough until World War One awakened her to reality.’
    • ‘Public entertainment can go ahead at the Barge Inn at Honeystreet despite some strenuous opposition from neighbours wanting to preserve their rural idyll.’
    • ‘It might be associations, such as memories of holidays, pastoral idylls, the peacefulness, the slower pace, or a whole imagined way of life.’
    • ‘And were any of the shops in this mono-cultural rural idyll aware that it is the Jewish festival of Purim?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now the proposals have been approved by planning officers and the final hurdle to the creation of their perfect rural idyll has been crossed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The sniper was merely a rupture in the domestic idyll of Virginian life: everything around was peaceful.’
    • ‘Just like Rousseau, Finlay has created an art which sets the notion of the Arcadian idyll against mankind's extreme barbarity.’
    • ‘And then aspects of war burst upon their peaceful idyll.’
    • ‘New Yorker Colin Brant's two naive-style oil paintings evoke otherworldly idylls with manicured grass, trees and happy, relaxed people.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But like most rural idylls everything is not as it seems, the club suffers from more than its fair share of vandalism.’
    • ‘But in the weeks ahead the concept of Europe is going to be more than just a bureaucratic nightmare or a holiday idyll.’
    • ‘He started painting rural idylls featuring churches and meadows which he intended to sell to the urban bourgeoisie.’
    • ‘On the big screen, however, Oban has always been portrayed as a pastoral idyll.’
    • ‘But just as it was in Buchan's day, the idyll is illusory.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Arcadian idylls are also a prolific feature of writing in the 18th and 19th centuries.’
      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’.