symbol


1sym·bol

noun \ˈsim-bəl\

: an action, object, event, etc., that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality

: a letter, group of letters, character, or picture that is used instead of a word or group of words

Full Definition of SYMBOL

1
:  an authoritative summary of faith or doctrine :  creed
2
:  something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance; especially :  a visible sign of something invisible <the lion is a symbol of courage>
3
:  an arbitrary or conventional sign used in writing or printing relating to a particular field to represent operations, quantities, elements, relations, or qualities
4
:  an object or act representing something in the unconscious mind that has been repressed <phallic symbols>
5
:  an act, sound, or object having cultural significance and the capacity to excite or objectify a response

Examples of SYMBOL

  1. <the traditional physician's symbol of a staff entwined with a snake>
  2. <the symbol ¶ indicates where a new paragraph should begin>

Origin of SYMBOL

in sense 1, from Late Latin symbolum, from Late Greek symbolon, from Greek, token, sign; in other senses from Latin symbolum token, sign, symbol, from Greek symbolon, literally, token of identity verified by comparing its other half, from symballein to throw together, compare, from syn- + ballein to throw — more at devil
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Alphabet Terms

cuneiform, linear, minuscule, pictograph, rune, symbology, wedge

2symbol

verb
symboled or symbolledsymbol·ing or symbol·ling

Definition of SYMBOL

:  symbolize

First Known Use of SYMBOL

1832

sym·bol

noun \ˈsim-bəl\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of SYMBOL

: something that stands for or suggests something else: as a : an arbitrary or conventional sign used in writing or printing relating to a particular field to represent operations, quantities, elements, relations, or qualities b : an object or act representing something in the unconscious mind that has been repressed <phallic symbols>
sym·bol·ic \sim-ˈbäl-ik\ adjective
sym·bol·i·cal·ly \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

symbol

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Element of communication intended to represent or stand for a person, object, group, process, or idea. Symbols may be presented graphically (e.g., the red cross and crescent for the worldwide humanitarian agency) or representationally (e.g., a lion representing courage). They may involve associated letters (e.g., C for the chemical element carbon), or they may be assigned arbitrarily (e.g., the mathematical symbol for infinity). Symbols are devices by which ideas are transmitted between people sharing a common culture. Every society has evolved a symbol system that reflects a specific cultural logic; and every symbolism functions to communicate information between members of the culture in much the same way as, but more subtly than, conventional language. Symbols tend to appear in clusters and to depend on one another for their accretion of meaning and value. See also semiotics.

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