\ 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 The Crimson Tide coaching icon ultimately settled on Fresno State offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, and McNulty spent one more season in Piscataway before jumping to the NFL for nearly a decade. Eric Hansen, Indianapolis Star, "What Notre Dame football should expect from tight ends coach John McNulty," 10 Feb. 2020 Getting in on the auction fun The icon continued his participation in the live auction, bidding for a sought-after painting with his Oscar in hand. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Fresh Off Elton John's Win, Here Are 6 Highlights From His AIDS Foundation Oscars Viewing Party," 10 Feb. 2020 Pop icon Madonna is the latest to weigh in, and with an offer to let the couple sublet her Manhattan apartment, no less, because New York is superior to Canada (obviously). Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, "Madonna Offers to Let Harry and Meghan Rent Her NYC Apartment That Overlooks Central Park," 5 Feb. 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog may be Jim Carrey's first new movie of 2020, but the comedic icon hasn't changed one bit since his Ace Venture days. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "'GMA' Fans Are Losing It Over Michael Strahan's Reaction to Jim Carrey's Hilarious Interview," 5 Feb. 2020 But the music icon is known for more than guitar solos, belly dancing, and, most recently, flicking her tongue on stage. Thatiana Diaz, refinery29.com, "Shakira’s Beauty Evolution Is A Love Letter To Natural Curls," 4 Feb. 2020 The icons even brought a couple surprise famous friends onstage to take part in the show, including Lopez's daughter. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Shakira and Jennifer Lopez deliver electrifying Super Bowl 2020 halftime show performance," 3 Feb. 2020 No, his first name -- a different spelling -- doesn’t come from the NBA icon. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Koby Altman, before joining NBA, once sent angry e-mail over Kobe Bryant suspension: Fedor’s five observations," 29 Jan. 2020 Miller, the first black recipient of the Navy Cross, is widely regarded not only as a national hero but as a hero of civil rights and as an icon for future African American sailors. Dallas News, "Money flows into Texas House races, Trump’s historic impeachment trial, anti-white election suit tossed," 21 Jan. 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

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Icon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icon. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for icon


How to pronounce icon- (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for icon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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