1

emblem

play
noun em·blem \ ˈem-bləm \

Definition of emblem

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

emblem was our Word of the Day on 04/27/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of emblem in a Sentence

  1. The flag is the emblem of our nation.

  2. He has come to be regarded as an emblem of conservatism.

Recent Examples of emblem from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emblem.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

emblem Has Greek Roots

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."

Origin and Etymology of emblem

Middle English, from Latin emblema inlaid work, from Greek emblēmat-, emblēma, from emballein to insert, from en- + ballein to throw — more at devil


2

emblem

verb

Definition of emblem

transitive verb

First Known Use of emblem

1584


EMBLEM Defined for English Language Learners

emblem

play
noun

Definition of emblem for English Language Learners

  • : an object or picture used to suggest a thing that cannot be shown

  • : a person or thing that represents an idea


EMBLEM Defined for Kids

emblem

play
noun em·blem \ ˈem-bləm \

Definition of emblem for Students

:an object or an image used to suggest a thing that cannot be pictured
  • The flag is the emblem of our nation.

Synonym Discussion of emblem

emblem, symbol, and token mean a visible thing that stands for something that cannot be pictured. emblem is usually used of an object or a picture that stands for a group such as a family, an organization, or a nation.
    • The eagle is one of our national emblems.
symbol may be used of anything that is understood as a sign for something else.
    • The lion is the symbol of courage.
token is used of an object or act that shows the existence of something else.
    • This gift is a token of our love.


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

all at once

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized-drawing-of-woman-pole-vaulting-across-gap-to-get-trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!