What would be a word for the object of adoration? E.g., a public speaker, a movie actor or a character in a novel.

In short, if I am a fan of X, then X is my __.

Please note that the adoration here is not excessive, and therefore I am looking for a word weaker than 'idol'.

  • 1
    You might consider that most people use the term idol in just the way you intend (without the excess). But you might go with one of my favorite <fitting characterization of X>
    – Jim
    Dec 21, 2013 at 10:07
  • @Jim Hmm. I was trying to avoid it, but I guess I have to go for it. There should really be more degrees of strength here. New words in English for this purpose will help.
    – Aman Singh
    Dec 21, 2013 at 10:15
  • Welcome to ELU, by the way. Dec 21, 2013 at 10:19
  • Hang around for a couple of hours, someone might come up with a better suggestion. :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2013 at 10:21

4 Answers 4


I do not know why the lexicon has not considered this but the natural choice should have been,


Lamers, M.:

The verb admire needs two arguments, the admirer (someone doing the admiring), and the admiree (the entity being admired).

Kecskes, I.

A speaker may choose which aspects of someone they admire to mimic in speaking to other people, in part from an audience design consideration (e.g., don't mimic an admiree to an addressee who knows both you and the admiree; they'll likely notice your mimicry and possibly call you on it).

Maienborn, C.

… the contrast between admiration of him (admirer and admiree must be distinct) and admiration of himself (admirer and admiree must be identical) suggests that even arguments that are not necessarily syntatically realized play a crucial role in binding.


Really the word fan is a contraction of the word 'fanatic' according to the Oxford English Dictionary

Merriam-Webster defines 'fan' as:

an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator or an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit)

So you could really say 'x is my admired/devoted' but that just sounds awkward. Maybe just use the idiom 'apple of my eye'?

  • 1
    You do get what I am trying to get at. That awkwardness is exactly what I am trying to avoid. Secondly, "Apple of my eye" gives a bit of a personal touch don't you think? Like, my son or my lover would be the apple of my eye, and certainly not, say, a movie actor.
    – Aman Singh
    Dec 21, 2013 at 10:07
  • Yeah I completely agree, it seems as though you can only go too far with this one: idol, 'apple of my eye', hero, icon. How much of a fan are you? That's the real question :P
    – Maximilian
    Dec 21, 2013 at 10:21
  • 'My number one' (is an open compound a 'word'?) Dec 21, 2013 at 11:08

There are a few expressions which you could use depending on your level of devotion and admiration.

X is my

  • mentor
  • inspiration
  • hero
  • icon
  • favourite actor/musician etc.
  • 1
    Not exactly my "mentor", "inspiration", as I am not in the same field. Calling him favorite seems a bit weak in my opinion. I can get behind "hero" or "icon", though not quite what I was looking for. Thanks.
    – Aman Singh
    Dec 21, 2013 at 10:11
  • Then you'll probably have to rephrase your sentence to: He's someone whom I admire greatly (or) respect.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2013 at 10:18

Why not beloved? It seems to fit the bill in most respects.

Idol has a connotation of someone people want to be like, whereas beloved clearly shows adoration (deep love & respect) without a desire to emulate.

Common usage for the noun form of beloved does lean towards a more romantic interest, but its adjective form is a popular choice for describing public figures, institutions, foods, etc.

I'm of the opinion that it'd be a good existing word to stretch the meaning of.

  • 1
    This would be improved with a dictionary reference for the selected word. Mar 16, 2020 at 10:33
  • Asking the OP "why not" is putting the cart before the horse. Your answer should explain why your suggestion is suitable. Mar 16, 2020 at 12:04

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