I think I look like Brad Peter. – Oh, you are damaging my idol. (He is far from Brad’s look).

I mean my friend’s words made me feel uncomfortable because my idol was compared to something much lower. I want my idol be there in my mind, just be there. No one shall try to pull it down, or combine it with mean and ugly things. So the idol is very fragile, I must protect it. Is this thought too much for “damage” to convey? May be “defile” is better in this context.

  • Neither. Look for a better fit in between. You have provided enough context but your choice of the two words is on the extremes. – Kris Nov 21 '13 at 13:43

As other answers have already explained, defile is better than damage, but I prefer tarnish. In particular the meaning 2b from the above link,

To cast aspersions on; sully: slander. that tarnished the senator's image.

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  • Writing advice is OT, though :) – Kris Nov 21 '13 at 13:42

Damage means

Harm or injury to property or a person, resulting in loss of value or the impairment of usefulness.

and defile means

  1. To make filthy or dirty; pollute: defile a river with sewage.
  2. To debase the pureness or excellence of; corrupt: a country landscape that was defiled by urban sprawl.
  3. To profane or sully (a reputation, for example).
  4. To make unclean or unfit for ceremonial use; desecrate: defile a temple.
  5. To violate the chastity of.

Since the assertion of similar appearance doesn't actually damage Brad Peter, defile is probably preferable, although perhaps a little hyperbolic in this case.

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  • 1
    Calling someone an idol is already hyperbolic, and defile continues the sam hyperbole. – Jon Hanna Nov 21 '13 at 13:06

Damaging does not make sense at all here.

Defiling continues the hyperbolic metaphor of saying someone is an idol; just as you could defile a real idol by physically damaging it or otherwise performing some act that is taboo in the religion the idol is part of, and make it no longer a proper representative of the god or other being it represents (or is, in itself), so then an act could metaphorically reduce someone's idol-like standing.

If they don't look like the "idol" though, are they really defiling it? You would just dismiss such an idea. Perhaps just insult would be better still.

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