Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈī-ˌkän\

Simple Definition of icon

  • computers : a small picture on a computer screen that represents a program or function

  • : a person who is very successful and admired

  • : a widely known symbol

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of icon

  1. 1 :  a usually pictorial representation :  image

  2. 2 [Late Greek eikōn, from Greek] :  a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians

  3. 3 :  an object of uncritical devotion :  idol

  4. 4 :  emblem, symbol <the house became an icon of 1960's residential architecture — Paul Goldberger>

  5. 5 a :  a sign (as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning b :  a graphic symbol on a computer display screen that represents an object (as a file) or function (as the command to delete)

Examples of icon in a sentence

  1. Click on the icon to open your e-mail program.

  2. He has become an icon in the movie business.

  3. a singer who has become a pop icon

  4. The Statue of Liberty has become an American cultural icon.

Variants of icon




Origin and Etymology of icon

Latin, from Greek eikōn, from eikenai to resemble

First Known Use: 1572

Other Fine Arts Terms

Rhymes with icon

aeon, add-on, agon, agone, Akan, Ambon, Amman, anon, Anshan, archon, argon, Argonne, atman, axon, bank on, barchan, baton, big on, Bion, blouson, bon ton, bonbon, boron, boson, bouillon, bring on, build on, bygone, caisson, call on, canton, capon, cast on, catch on, Ceylon, chaconne, Charon, chew on, chiffon, chiton, chrismon, Cimon, cistron, clip-on, codon, come-on, cordon, coupon, crampon, crayon, crepon, cretonne, crouton, Dacron, dead-on, Dear John, doggone, Dogon, Don Juan, exon, fall on, flacon, foregone, form on, Freon, fronton, futon, Garonne, get on, Gibran, gluon, gnomon, go on, guidon, hadron, Hainan, hand on, hands-on, hang on, have on, hazan, head-on, Henan, hereon, high on, hit on, hogan, hold on, Huainan, intron, ion, jargon, Jinan, jomon, kanban, kaon, Kashan, keen on, Khoisan, Kirman, koan, krypton, kurgan, Kurgan, lauan, lepton, let on, lock on, log on, look on, Luzon, macron, Masan, Medan, Memnon, meson, micron, Milan, mod con, moron, mouton, Multan, muon, natron, nekton, neon, nephron, neuron, neutron, ninon, Nippon, nylon, odds-on, Oman, Oran, Orlon, paeon, parton, Pathan, pavane, pecan, peon, Phaëthon, photon, phyton, pick on, pion, piton, plankton, pluton, pompon, prion, proton, Pusan, push on, put-on, pylon, python, racon, radon, rag on, rayon, recon, rhyton, run-on, run on, Saint John, Saipan, salon, San Juan, Schliemann, Schumann, Shaban, shaman, shaitan, Shingon, sign on, sit on, slip-on, snap-on, solon, Solon, soupçon, soutane, stand on, stolon, stuck on, Suwon, sweet on, Taiwan, taipan, take on, tampon, taxon, Teflon, Tehran, teston, thereon, Tian Shan, tisane, torchon, toucan, toyon, trade on, trigon, Tristan, triton, trogon, try on, Tucson, turned-on, turn on, Typhon, tzigane, uhlan, Ulsan, upon, wait on, walk-on, witan, whereon, Wonsan, wonton, work on, Wuhan, xenon, Xi'an, Yukon, Yunnan, zircon


combining form

Definition of icon-

  1. :  image <iconolatry>

Variants of icon-



Origin and Etymology of icon-

Greek eikon-, eikono-, from eikon-, eikōn

ICON Defined for Kids


noun \ˈī-ˌkän\

Definition of icon for Students

  1. 1 :  a widely known symbol <The Statue of Liberty has become an icon of freedom.>

  2. 2 :  a person who is very successful or admired <a pop icon>

  3. 3 :  a religious image usually painted on a small wooden panel

  4. 4 :  a small picture or symbol on a computer screen that represents a function that the computer can perform

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up icon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


articulated in the throat

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of namby-pamby?

insipid lithe insightful energetic
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.