\ ˈī-ˌkän \
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

god, hero, idol

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Examples of icon in a Sentence


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

Groupy is available for $4.99 on its own or as part of Stardock’s Object Desktop, which also gives you the Fences utility to help organize your desktop icons. Tom Warren, The Verge, "The 9 best apps for your new Windows PC," 27 Dec. 2018 The government has long resisted efforts to sell off any key stake in Proton, seen as a national icon. Eileen Ng, The Seattle Times, "Malaysia’s Proton launches first SUV with China’s Geely," 12 Dec. 2018 The bear, a strong contender for your summer icon, did everything right during his soak. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "The Bear Drinking a Margarita in a Hot Tub Is Your Summer 2018 Hero," 3 July 2018 DJ Fingerblast struggles with how to comprehend that his icon, the legend who brought the air horn to the Midwest, could be capable of such brutality. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Bleak Truths of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," 31 May 2018 Though Kermit and his fellow icons will surely be star attractions, Montagano hopes Imagination Unlimited will illuminate what Henson stood for. Andy Hermann, Los Angeles Magazine, "Historic Muppets and Other Jim Henson Artifacts Move Into the Skirball," 30 May 2018 Local Artist Emily Costello Emily Costello had always been proud of her Mexican heritage, its cultural icons and imagery. Brian Sodoma, azcentral, "Local artist taps Mexican heritage for Lottery Scratchers® ticket designs," 22 May 2018 The moral of this story, according to the icon herself? Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Madonna’s Nude Throwback Instagram Proves She Is the Original Sex Positive Girl," 20 Dec. 2018 Just days ago, Kylie appeared to pay a fashionable homage to another '90s pop icon, Britney Spears. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Don't Let Kylie Jenner's Leather Corset Skirt Distract You from Her Incredible Backstreet Boys T-Shirt," 17 Dec. 2018

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

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for icon

The first known use of icon was in 1572

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on icon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with icon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for icon

Spanish Central: Translation of icon

Nglish: Translation of icon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of icon for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about icon

Comments on icon

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


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