• emblem
  • audio pronunciation
  • \EM-blum\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: a picture with a motto or set of verses intended as a moral lesson
2
: an object or the figure of an object symbolizing and suggesting another object or an idea
3
a : a symbolic object used as a heraldic device b : a device, symbol, or figure adopted and used as an identifying mark
  • EXAMPLES

"The picture, changed or unchanged, would be to him the visible emblem of conscience." — From Oscar Wilde's 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray

"For their wins at the region level, both Ocana and Martinez got medals with each region school's emblem on the design…." — From an article by Lindsey Derrick in The Daily Citizen (Dalton, Georgia), April 1, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Both "emblem" and its synonym "symbol" trace back to the Greek verb "ballein," meaning "to throw." "Emblem" arose from "emballein," meaning "to insert," while "symbol" comes from "symballein," Greek for "to throw together." "Ballein" is also an ancestor of the words "parable" (from "paraballein," "to compare"), "metabolism" (from "metaballein," "to change"), and "problem" (from "proballein," "to throw forward"). Another (somewhat surprising) "ballein" descendant is "devil," which comes from Greek "diabolos," literally meaning "slanderer." "Diabolos" in turn comes from "diaballein," meaning "to throw across" or "to slander."

Name That Synonym: What 6-letter synonym of "emblem" begins with "e" and can also refer to a flag flown as the symbol of nationality or to a naval commissioned officer of the lowest rank? The answer is …

  • MORE WORDS OF THE DAY

Visit our archives to see previous selections ยป

  • FEATURED ITEM FROM OUR STORE

An expressive t-shirt:

"Use Your Words"

Browse all items »

  • PODCAST

Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account