\ ˈī-ˌkän How to pronounce icon (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of icon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a graphic symbol on a computer display screen that represents an app, an object (such as a file), or a function (such as the command to save)
b : a sign (such as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning
2 : an object of uncritical devotion : idol
3 : emblem, symbol the house became an icon of 1960's residential architecture— Paul Goldberger
4 [Late Greek eikōn, from Greek] : a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians
5 : a usually pictorial representation : image
variants: or icono-

Definition of icon- (Entry 2 of 2)

: image iconolatry

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Synonyms for icon

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of icon in a Sentence

Noun Click on the icon to open your e-mail program. He has become an icon in the movie business. a singer who has become a pop icon The Statue of Liberty has become an American cultural icon.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bottom Line: Justice is an icon for older members of Gen Z but is more often remembered for being a meme. Jordan Crucchiola, Vulture, "Disney and Nickelodeon Stars Gone Pop: A Ranking," 25 Jan. 2021 Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words will recount the late icon's career and personal triumphs with snippets from her own past interviews and appearances. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "A New Ruth Bader Ginsburg Documentary Will Debut Next Month," 12 Jan. 2021 Experience Hendrix and its licensing arm, Authentic Hendrix, was created by the rock icon's father, Al Hendrix, after his son’s death in 1970. Claudia Rosenbaum, Billboard, "Jimi Hendrix’s Brother, Niece Found in Contempt of Court for Violating Trademarks," 12 Jan. 2021 Around since 1969, this sneaker became an icon for a reason. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "Save on tons of top brands at Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale," 30 Dec. 2020 Rather is an international figure and home state icon for aspiring young journalists in the Lone Star state. Sonia Ramirez, Chron, "UT Austin introduces Dan Rather Medals for relentless reporting," 18 Dec. 2020 Elizabeth explores politics as religion, with Cate Blanchett’s monarch giving post-Reformation England a replacement icon for the Virgin Mary. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Crown’s Majestic Untruths," 5 Dec. 2020 News reporter Paul Linnman became a icon for his role in the event. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "50 Years Ago Today, Oregon Blew Up a Dead Whale. With Dynamite. On Live TV.," 12 Nov. 2020 This week, SeeHer Story honors the icon for her profound accomplishments and passion to empower women to run the world. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "SeeHer Story Honors the One and Only Beyoncé in Episode 11," 4 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'icon.' 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 icon


1572, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for icon


Latin, from Greek eikōn, from eikenai to resemble

Combining form

Greek eikon-, eikono-, from eikon-, eikōn

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Statistics for icon

Last Updated

17 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Icon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icon. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for icon



English Language Learners Definition of icon

computers : a small picture on a computer screen that represents a program or function
: a person who is very successful and admired
: a widely known symbol


\ ˈī-ˌkän \

Kids Definition of icon

1 : a widely known symbol The Statue of Liberty has become an icon of freedom.
2 : a person who is very successful or admired a pop icon
3 : a religious image usually painted on a small wooden panel
4 : a small picture or symbol on a computer screen that represents a function that the computer can perform

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