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

Definition of icon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person or thing widely admired especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere a civil rights icon an actor and fashion icon … Purple Rain, the flick that established Prince as a pop icon and cineaste.— Robert Christgau and Carola Dibbell That cultural icon, the Nintendo Game Boy, was released in 1989 …— Eleanor Flegg
2 : emblem, symbol Rosie the Riveter, a WWII [World War II] cultural icon with her blue jumpsuit and red bandana, represented the women who went to work at manufacturing hubs across the nation …— David DeBolt A single photograph, the photograph of Earth taken from space by William Anders, on Apollo 8, in 1968, served as an icon for the entire environmental movement.— Jill Lepore The nation's first President was transformed into an icon, a national symbol whose somewhat forbidding portrait would adorn the dollar bill.— John J. O'Connor
3a : 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
c archaic : a usually pictorial representation : image
4 [Late Greek eikōn, from Greek] in Eastern Orthodox Christianity : a representation (as in a mural, a mosaic, or a painting on wood) of sacred events or especially of a sacred individual (such as Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint) used as an object of veneration or a tool for instruction
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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana celebrates its first anniversary with a hip-hop icon and a legendary hometown band. Annie Alleman, Chicago Tribune, 4 May 2022 While fashion icon and pop star extraordinaire Dua Lipa skipped out on the 2022 Met Gala because of her Future Nostalgia tour, that doesn't mean she's stopped pulling iconic looks. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 3 May 2022 Blake Lively, fashion icon and co-chair of the 2022 Met Gala, has just hit the red carpet. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 2 May 2022 Hotel Arts Barcelona is a timeless icon and a prominent feature of Barcelona’s skyline, boasting stunning panoramic views from its unique location on the waterfront. Chelsea Davis, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 In the Americas, the jaguar has long been an icon and symbol of power and connection to the spiritual world in mythology, philosophies, culture and art. Ganesh Marin, The Conversation, 19 Apr. 2022 Pamela Rooke, the style icon and legendary figure in the British punk scene better known as Jordan, died yesterday at the age of 66, her partner confirmed to Brighton and Hove News earlier today. Liam Hess, Vogue, 4 Apr. 2022 The first ship, named after the late civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis, was delivered in 2021. Eleanor Watson, CBS News, 1 Apr. 2022 Freeman, the 33-year-old potential Hall of Famer who came to Atlanta a quiet 20-year-old and left a five-time All-Star, franchise icon and World Series champion, won’t work here anymore. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

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 3c

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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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Icon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icon. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for icon


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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