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See also: eidôlon



Alternative forms




From Ancient Greek εἴδωλον (eídōlon, figure, representation), from εἶδος (eîdos, sight), from εἴδω (eídō, I see). Doublet of idol, idolum, and idea.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /aɪˈdəʊlən/, /aɪˈdəʊlɒn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /aɪˈdoʊlən/, /aɪˈdoʊlɑn/
  • Audio (US):(file)



eidolon (plural eidola or eidolons)

  1. An image or representation of an idea; a representation of an ideal form; an apparition of some actual or imaginary entity, or of some aspect of reality.
    • 1936, Henry Miller, Black Spring:
      As a species it is extinct; as an eidolon it retains its corporeality – but only if maintained in a state of equipoise.
    • 1974, Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur, Faber & Faber, published 1992, page 21:
      It was not hard to forge her image, her "eidolon", in the grey gloom of the little church.
    • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, “Bilocations”, in Against the Day, New York, N.Y.: Penguin Press, →ISBN, page 620:
      [] Kit was sitting up staring into the dark at this eidolon, inelegantly turned out contrary to a whole raft of public-decency statutes, which had come monitory and breathing in to violate Kit's insomnia.
  2. A phantom, a ghost or elusive entity.
    • 1837, Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution: A History [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), London: Chapman and Hall, →OCLC, (please specify the book or page number):
      Was Philippe d'Orleans seen, this day, 'in the Bois de Boulogne, in grey surtout;' waiting under the wet sere foliage, what the day might bring forth? Alas, yes, the Eidolon of him was,—in Weber's and other such brains.
  3. An unsubstantial image, spectre, phantom.