emblem

noun
em·​blem | \ ˈem-bləm How to pronounce emblem (audio) \

Definition of emblem

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
3a : a symbolic object used as a heraldic device
b : a device, symbol, or figure adopted and used as an identifying mark

emblem

verb
emblemed; embleming; emblems

Definition of emblem (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms for emblem

Synonyms: Noun

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Emblem Has Greek Roots

Noun

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."

Examples of emblem in a Sentence

Noun The flag is the emblem of our nation. He has come to be regarded as an emblem of conservatism.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The students will receive an IND emblem on their diploma and may wear their former school colors as a blue and white tassel on their graduation caps, Catholic High officials said in a news release. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, 25 May 2021 With an 8-foot wingspan and a distinctive snowy-white head, America’s national emblem conjures feelings of patriotism and reverence. Jen Murphy, WSJ, 14 May 2021 The lion emblem has been used by the royal family for centuries as a symbol of bravery and strength. CNN, 29 Apr. 2021 Pérez has become a divisive Super League emblem not only in Spain. Henry Flynn, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 The flame logo of his father's company is likely also a nod to the Fire Nation's emblem in ATLA. Rachel Yang, EW.com, 2 Apr. 2021 To much of the outside world, the city of Bhopal, India, lingers as an emblem of industrial disaster, the place where a 1984 toxic gas leak from a Union Carbide plant killed thousands of people instantly and up to 15,000 over time. New York Times, 8 May 2021 Since then, Calment has become something of an emblem of the ongoing quest to answer one of history’s most controversial questions: What exactly is the limit on the human life span? New York Times, 28 Apr. 2021 Other countries, such as Kenya, have held on to wigs as an emblem of the judiciary and a status symbol. Shan Li, WSJ, 17 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of emblem

Noun

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1584, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for emblem

Noun

borrowed from Middle French & New Latin; Middle French embleme "symbolic image typically accompanied by a motto and a verse exposition (books of which constituted a literary genre in the Renaissance)," borrowed from New Latin emblēmat-, emblēma, going back to Latin, "inlaid pavement, inlaid relief on the inside of a metal bowl or other vessel," borrowed from Greek emblēmat-, émblēma "something inserted (as a shaft into a spearhead), relief ornament decorating silver plate," from emblē-, stem in noun derivation of embállein "to drop or place in, throw into, insert," from em-, variant of en- en- entry 2 before a labial + bállein "to reach by throwing, cast, strike, put, place" — more at devil entry 1

Note: The use of Latin emblēma in reference to a combination of symbolic image and text is apparently owed to the Italian jurist and scholar Andrea Anciato (1492-1550), who gave rise to the emblem book genre with his Emblematum liber (Augsburg, 1531). The semantic gap between the literal meaning of the word and Alciati's use of it has yet to be fully explained. Pace the comments by John F. Moffitt (Andrea Alciati, A Book of Emblems: The Emblematum Liber in Latin and English [Jefferson, NC: 2004], introduction, p. 7), neither Cicero, Quintilian, nor Coelius Rodiginus provide any definite basis for the meaning given emblēma by Alciati.

Verb

derivative of emblem entry 1

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Last Updated

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Emblem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emblem. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for emblem

emblem

noun

English Language Learners Definition of emblem

: an object or picture used to suggest a thing that cannot be shown
: a person or thing that represents an idea

emblem

noun
em·​blem | \ ˈem-bləm How to pronounce emblem (audio) \

Kids Definition of emblem

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

Choose the Right Synonym for 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.

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