All I can think of is the word idol. Is it the most correct answer to this question? Or is there any more appropriate word?


In my opinion, idol sounds a bit too "strong".

When someone is a fan of another person, I think it usually means he likes the other one and probably follows his activities etc.

When the other person is his idol, I think it means he idolizes the other person and maybe tries to do everything like him, wear same clothes, etc.

Just my thought..

Example: Uncle John is my girlfriend's _. She likes him a lot.

  • Can you supply a sentence with a blank where the word you want would fit? As it stands, your question could be answered by a wide range of words; 'hero', 'celeb', 'celebrity', 'star' etc. come to mind.
    – JEL
    Aug 13, 2016 at 20:19

8 Answers 8


In crossword puzzles, it's usually "idol".

Various words suggest various degrees. It might be as mild as "a preference". An "object of interest" or an "object of devotion".

So it's someone you like? or someone you follow (as on Twitter)? Maybe you should just say that, instead of saying you're a "fan".

  • Thanks for the answer. But somehow I feel like there might be a better word. "idol" seems to be a bit "too strong". Aug 13, 2016 at 20:03
  • Too strong probably depends on why you are a fan, and to what degree. But that's not information stated or suggested in your question. And there are degrees of idolatry.
    – dkretz
    Aug 13, 2016 at 20:09
  • Yep, you are right. I edited my question. Aug 13, 2016 at 20:15

If you not only admire the person but want to be like the person maybe this is appropriate:

role model NOUN A person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.


Sorry. I don't think this word exists yet. If you think further, it is not necessarily a person you are a fan of, it can be a subject like Star Wars. You can't possibly call Star Wars your 'idol' or 'role model', can you? Neither can you describe it with the word 'favorite', since the thing or person you are a fan of doesn't necessarily your favorite. You can be a fan of multiple things or persons, if you want.


This may be suitable:

Exemplar - an admired person or thing that is considered an example that deserves to be copied

However, idol is the best word I can think of, and there's nothing wrong with it.


If one is a fan of another because they like them, as your example suggests, the other person is a favourite.

Favourite noun 1 A person or thing that is preferred to all others of the same kind or is especially well liked - ODO

Your example would then be

  • Uncle John is my girlfriend's favourite. She likes him a lot.

Although the term is defined as an absolute, it is also used less strictly. That is, one may claim to have several favourites, not just one. Here are some examples:

(Disclaimer: I don't knowingly have any material interest in the sites linked above.)


I think Uncle John is my girlfriend's HERO.


You may qualify the word: Uncle John is my girlfriend's idol, as it were. She likes him a lot. An example from LDOCE5: Jim Radcliffe became our idol, as it were, the man we all wanted to be.


The word "adulate" comes to mind in this fan/idol relationship. Webster's lists the word "adulator" as the "fan" side of the coin, but no comparable word for the "idol" side. Speaking of coins, maybe we can coin a new word that's more indicative of the level of fanaticism rather than the degree of recognition and popularity that "idol" implies. Maybe "adulant"? (Also, "adulant" doesn't sound like it connotes mimicking by the fan that "idol" may imply. That could be another word: "emulant.")

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