AskDefine | Define idyll

Dictionary Definition



1 an episode of such pastoral or romantic charm as to qualify as the subject of a poetic idyll
2 a musical composition that evokes rural life [syn: pastorale, pastoral]
3 a short descriptive poem of rural or pastoral life [syn: eclogue, bucolic]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  • a UK: /ˈɪdɪl/, /"IdIl/ or /ˈɪdəl/, /"Id@l/
    Rhymes with: -ɪdɪl, -ɪdəl
  • a US: , /ˈaɪdəl/, /"aId@l/
    Rhymes with: -aɪdəl



  1. Any poem or short written piece composed in the style of Theocritus's short pastoral poems, the Idylls.
  2. An episode or series of events or circumstances of pastoral or rural simplicity, fit for an idyll; a carefree or lighthearted experience;
  3. A composition, usually instrumental, of a pastoral or sentimental character, e.g. Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner.


poem or short written piece


Extensive Definition

An idyll or idyl ( or /ˈɪdəl/) (from Greek eidyllion, little picture) is a short poem, descriptive of rustic life, written in the style of Theocritus's short pastoral poems, the Idylls. Later imitators included the Roman poets Virgil and Catullus, Italian poet Leopardi, and the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
An idyll can also be a kind of painting, usually representing a pastor and his animals in a rural setting. They are depicted in a natural way, with the three components - man, animal and the environment - in a harmonious unity, preventing the picture from being either a landscape, or a genre, or just an image of an animal. Nature in this combination is presented in an unsophisticated, realistic fashion.
The subjects of such pictures are usually simple people living in uncivilised conditions, featuring naïvety in their thinking and yet leading a happy and cheerful life. The style ignores the real misery associated with rural poverty. The approach to the presentation is not humorous, but emotional, sometimes sentimental.

See also

idyll in Catalan: Ègloga
idyll in German: Idyll
idyll in Spanish: Égloga
idyll in French: Idylle
idyll in Galician: Égloga
idyll in Italian: Idillio
idyll in Hebrew: אידיליה
idyll in Japanese: アイディル
idyll in Georgian: იდილია
idyll in Hungarian: Idill

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

English sonnet, Horatian ode, Italian sonnet, Petrarchan sonnet, Pindaric ode, Sapphic ode, Shakespearean sonnet, alba, anacreontic, balada, ballad, ballade, bucolic, canso, chanson, clerihew, dirge, dithyramb, eclogue, elegy, epic, epigram, epithalamium, epode, epopee, epopoeia, epos, georgic, ghazel, haiku, jingle, limerick, lyric, madrigal, monody, narrative poem, nursery rhyme, ode, palinode, pastoral, pastoral elegy, pastorela, pastourelle, poem, prothalamium, rhyme, rondeau, rondel, roundel, roundelay, satire, sestina, sloka, song, sonnet, sonnet sequence, tanka, tenso, tenzone, threnody, triolet, troubadour poem, verse, verselet, versicle, villanelle, virelay
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