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)

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for emblem

Synonyms: Noun

ensign, hallmark, impresa, 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

Their plans include renovation of the court, envisioning a color-blocking scheme in orange and blue with a VSP (Victory Street Park) emblem adorned with racing flags at center court. Erika Butler, baltimoresun.com, "Repainting Aberdeen basketball court part of teacher’s efforts to help troubled youth, teens," 11 July 2019 Fireworks—thousands of which launch from municipal festivals and backyards each Independence Day—are, for some citizens of the United States, quintessential emblems of nationalism. Claire Wolters, National Geographic, "Red, white, and boom? How fireworks came to America," 3 July 2019 On draft night, accessories are key—lucky charms, emblems of allegiances, personal statements of panache. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Evolution of N.B.A.-Draft Fashion," 26 June 2019 If not — and the odds of failure seem high — Sudan will be remembered as an endling, a last of his kind, an emblem not just of Africa but of the Anthropocene. Rebecca Boyle, Discover Magazine, "The Quixotic Quest to Birth a Baby Northern White Rhino," 25 June 2019 And indeed, Whitman has become just such an emblem. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "‘Poet of the Body: New York’s Walt Whitman’ Review: An American Bard’s Early Years," 24 June 2019 In this way, Jodie may become to Gen Z what Daria was for so many Gen X-ers: An emblem of sanity, humor, and clear thinking in an often-inane environment. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "A spinoff of MTV’s “Daria” will take on the Gen Z experience of working in tech," 17 June 2019 Amid war in the summer of 1974 that cleaved Cyprus along ethnic lines, United Nations peacekeepers took over the Ledra Palace Hotel and instantly turned it into an emblem of the east Mediterranean island nation's division. Menelaos Hadjicostis, Fox News, "Aging grand hotel highlights the ethnic division in Cyprus," 16 June 2019 Bellefeuille and thousands of other line workers became frontline emblems of their employer’s failings. Lizzie Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "At PG&E, a workforce on edge — and under attack — as fire season arrives," 9 June 2019

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

23 Jul 2019

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 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.

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

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!