\ 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

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

Brathwaite quickly became the toast of the fine-arts world and an icon for many in black Hollywood. Tanisha C. Ford, The Atlantic, "The Radical Fashion Roots of Rihanna’s Fenty Line," 7 June 2019 That black Nike sports bra, which made Brandi Chastain an icon and gave women permission to be proud of their strong, athletic bodies, is now framed and hanging on a wall in her house, next to the frame that has her World Cup jersey and medal. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "What ever happened to Brandi Chastain's famous sports bra from 1999?," 7 June 2019 James Baldwin loved her gumbo, and Nat King Cole, another Alabama icon, always wanted a four-minute egg. Shauna Stuart | Sstuart@al.com, al.com, "Congressman John Lewis on Leah Chase: ‘You felt at home in her presence’," 7 June 2019 The message was clear; after an icon like Lady Gaga wears granny panties in public, there is no stuffing them back in the bottom drawer. Shira Feder, Vox, "The rise of granny panties," 5 June 2019 Most have drawn inspiration from Greta Thunberg, a Swedish 16-year-old who protested outside Parliament and became an icon. Alden Woods, azcentral, "Young Arizona activists say leaders must address climate change 'or get zero of our votes'," 4 June 2019 At its inception in the mid-1990s, the TT was an instant design icon, and while later generations haven't made the same impact as the original, the TT is still unlike any other car on the market. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The Audi TT Is Getting Replaced by an "Emotive" Electric Car," 23 May 2019 The architecture world lost an icon yesterday, when Ieoh Ming (I.M.) Pei died in New York after a prolific, decades-long career. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Iconic Architect I. M. Pei Dies at 102," 17 May 2019 One view shows a map of the route and an icon to mark the car's current location. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Waymo One, the groundbreaking self-driving taxi service, explained," 5 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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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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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

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