emblem

noun
em·blem | \ˈem-bləm \

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for emblem

Synonyms: Noun

ensign, hallmark, logo, symbol, totem, trademark

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for emblem

Noun

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.

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

Good Housekeeping introduces the Green Good Housekeeping Seal, an environmental emblem that includes comprehensive life cycle criteria. Good Housekeeping, "The History of the Good Housekeeping Institute," 31 Oct. 2015 Juárez, a man of humble Zapotec origins who championed the cause of the disenfranchised, is a kind of Abraham Lincoln figure in Mexico—an emblem of unbending honor and persistence. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "A New Revolution in Mexico," 25 June 2012 His interviewer is wearing a shirt with a johnnie-O emblem, a surfer with his board. Teddy Greenstein, chicagotribune.com, "First words: Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson talks ACL prognosis, marriage and why he ‘can’t skip steps’," 2 July 2018 The theater, a Spanish Baroque Revival dazzler designed by the kings of movie palace architecture, C.W. and George L. Rapp, is an emblem of that lost glamour. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "It's great that the Uptown Theatre has a future. What kind of future will it be?," 29 June 2018 On Saturday, Garcia, executive director of Annunciation House, watched as a large white bus emblazoned with the emblem of the Department of Homeland Security lurched to a stop in front of a phalanx of reporters and volunteers. NBC News, "Here's how hard it is to find a migrant kid who has been separated from his mom," 25 June 2018 Operating under the apparent emblem that the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend, Mas Canosa toured the world to embrace those who had spurned Castro or Marxist rule. Christopher Marquis, miamiherald, "Jorge Mas Canosa dead at 58," 15 June 2018 Here are some fun facts and common misconceptions about the iconic emblem. Josh Axelrod And Saeed Ahmed, CNN, "It's Flag Day. Here are some fun facts about the American flag you may not have known," 14 June 2018 Their offense was provided by Leonys Martin, who, like starting pitcher Mike Fiers, has served an an emblem of this team. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Tigers' 18-game marathon comes to an end with loss, shut down by Kluber," 10 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of emblem

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1584, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for emblem

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about emblem

Listen to Our Podcast about emblem

Statistics for emblem

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for emblem

The first known use of emblem was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on emblem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for emblem

Spanish Central: Translation of emblem

Nglish: Translation of emblem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of emblem for Arabic Speakers

Comments on emblem

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!