Hindus use the word ‘Idol’ interchangeably to mean HIndu Gods that are worshipped in the stone or metal form.
If we know the correct meaning of ‘idol’ according to english dictionary , we will think twice about using this word in Hindu context.
In our Sanatana Dharma tradition, a murti (Devanagari: मूर्ति), ormurthi, or vigraha or pratima typically refers to an image that expresses a Divine Spirit (murta). Meaning literally “embodiment”, a murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped.
Lets see the current meaning of the word from mariam webster website.
Please note the term “False god” and “a false conception”. Why should we use the word that was foisted on us by the british ?
The notion that the term murti is equivalent to the English word “idol” is a misconception.
Scholar Steven Rosen notes that early European missionaries were largely responsible for conflating the two terms by informing local Hindus that “idol” was the correct translation for “murti”.
Furthermore, scholar Diana Eck explains that the term murti is defined in Sanskrit as “anything which has definite shape and limits; a form, body, figure; an embodiment, incarnation, or manifestation.” Thus, the murti is more than a likeness; it is the deity itself taken “form”. The uses of the word murti in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita suggest that the form is its essence.” Thus, a murti is considered to be more than a mere likeness of a deity, but rather a manifestation of the deity itself.
The Murti is like a way to communicate with the abstract one God (Brahman) which creates, sustains, and dissolves creation. It is very interesting to note, that in Russian the word “morda” means some entity’s face or facial-expression which can hint at that original etymology.
The word Hindu ‘Idol’ is derogatory. Lets start to say ‘Murthi’ instead of ‘idol’ from today on.