Put Someone on a Pedestal: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
January 10, 2024

The phrase "put someone on a pedestal" is often used to describe a situation where someone is admired, respected, or loved to such an extent that they are seen as perfect or almost perfect. This expression suggests that the person being idolized is held in very high esteem, sometimes unrealistically so.

In short:

  • It means admiring or respecting someone greatly, often excessively.
  • It describes situations where someone is viewed as perfect or nearly perfect, which can be unrealistic.

What Does "Put Someone on a Pedestal" Mean?

To "put someone on a pedestal" means to highly admire or idolize someone, often ignoring their flaws. For example, if someone says, "He always puts his partner on a pedestal," it suggests that he views his partner as perfect and overlooks any shortcomings. This term can imply that the admiration is so intense that it may not fully acknowledge the person's true nature or characteristics. It's a way of expressing deep admiration or love, but it can also suggest a lack of realism in how someone is viewed.

More about the phrase's meaning:

  • It often involves exaggerating someone's good qualities and ignoring their flaws.
  • The phrase can be used in romantic, familial, or professional contexts.
  • While it indicates deep admiration, it also hints at a potential disconnect from reality.
  • Putting someone on a pedestal can sometimes lead to disappointment if the idolized person cannot live up to the high expectations set for them.
  • Related expressions include "idolize," "worship," and "adore."

Where Does "Put Someone on a Pedestal" Come From?

The phrase "put someone on a pedestal" originates in ancient Greek and Roman cultures. In these societies, statues of gods and revered individuals were often placed on pedestals. These pedestals elevated the statues, literally and figuratively, above the ordinary level, signifying honor and admiration. Placing a statue on a pedestal was a way to show respect and reverence, making the figure prominent and distinguished.

10 Examples of "Put Someone on a Pedestal" in Sentences

To help you understand how to use this phrase, here are some examples from different contexts:

  • Bear in mind that when you put someone on a pedestal, you may overlook their true qualities.
  • In his eyes, his mentor could do no wrong; he had always put him on a pedestal.
  • Kidding aside, constantly putting someone on a pedestal can create unrealistic expectations in any relationship.
  • As a famous novelist, he often found himself put on a pedestal by his avid readers.
  • How on earth can we maintain a balanced view if we continuously put someone on a pedestal?
  • He warned her not to put her friends on a pedestal, reminding her that everyone makes mistakes.
  • After winning the award, she felt like her colleagues were putting her on a pedestal.
  • Everyone laughed at his lame joke, but it struck me that they might just be doing so because they always put him on a pedestal.
  • She had a habit of putting celebrities on pedestals, often forgetting they were just regular people.
  • It's not healthy to put someone on a pedestal in a relationship; it creates unrealistic expectations.

Examples of "Put Someone on a Pedestal" in Pop Culture

This phrase is commonly used in pop culture, often to describe scenarios where characters idolize others unrealistically.

Let's look at some examples:

  • Katerina Diamond, in her book, writes: "The higher you put someone on a pedestal, the further they have to fall."
  • The song "Pedestal" by Coffin Varnish includes the lyrics: "I put someone on a pedestal, and it wasn't me, but I wanted so badly for it to be."
  • An article on Rose Colored Glasses discusses the reasons to stop putting someone on a pedestal, highlighting the importance of mindfulness and self-awareness.
  • A news piece on Psychology Today titled "Authenticity in Relationships and How Objectification Devalues Us" explores the concept of putting someone on a pedestal and its impact on relationships.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Put Someone on a Pedestal"

Here are some alternative phrases that express the same idea:

  • Idolize someone
  • Worship someone
  • Glorify someone
  • Adore someone excessively
  • Hold someone in high regard
  • Exalt someone
  • Deify someone
  • Overvalue someone
  • Look up to someone excessively
  • Place someone on a high pedestal

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Put Someone on a Pedestal":

  • What does "put someone on a pedestal" mean?

"Put someone on a pedestal" means to admire or respect someone greatly, often excessively, viewing them as perfect or almost perfect.

  • Can "putting someone on a pedestal" have negative consequences?

Yes, it can lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointment when the idolized person cannot live up to these high standards.

  • Is "put someone on a pedestal" used in positive or negative contexts?

It can be used in both, but often carries a negative connotation, suggesting a lack of realism in how someone is viewed.

  • How can idolizing someone affect a relationship?

It can create an imbalance and lead to disappointment when the idolized person reveals their flaws or makes mistakes.

  • Is it healthy to idolize celebrities or public figures?

While common, it's generally considered unhealthy as it can lead to unrealistic expectations and ignoring of their human flaws.

  • Can "put someone on a pedestal" be used in a work environment?

Yes, it can be used to describe situations where a colleague or leader is overly idolized, potentially overlooking their weaknesses.

  • How do you stop putting someone on a pedestal?

By recognizing and accepting their flaws, and understanding that nobody is perfect, one can stop idolizing them unrealistically.

  • Does "put someone on a pedestal" always mean the person doesn't deserve the admiration?

Not necessarily. The phrase focuses more on the admirer's perception rather than the actual merits of the person being idolized.

  • Can this phrase be applied to oneself?

It's less common, but one can metaphorically put themselves on a pedestal by having an inflated self-perception.

  • Are there cultural differences in how this phrase is understood?

Yes, cultural attitudes towards idolization and admiration can influence how the phrase is interpreted and used.

Final Thoughts About "Put Someone on a Pedestal"

The phrase "put someone on a pedestal" is a nuanced way of expressing deep admiration or love, but it also highlights the importance of realistic perceptions in relationships.

To recap:

  • It's about admiring someone greatly, often to the point of ignoring their flaws.
  • While it shows deep affection, it can lead to unrealistic expectations.
  • It's important to maintain a balanced and realistic view of others, even those we deeply admire.
  • The phrase can be applied in various contexts, from personal relationships to professional environments.

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