\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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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

Also high on her list of favorite vocal endeavors are the songs of a Tejano music icon who died in 1995. Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune, "Latin Satin Soul performs at free Whiting concert series," 12 July 2018 But if there’s anybody, Pharrel has really been a style icon for me. Jamie Lisanti, SI.com, "Fashionable 50," 10 July 2018 The philanthropist, style icon and 2014 Orlando Sentinel Central Floridian of the Year, died Tuesday, July 10, at Florida Hospital-Altamonte. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Outspoken and stylish, Harriett Lake was devoted to the arts," 10 July 2018 Given her royal status, Meghan has rapidly become an Internet darling and style icon. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "People Think Meghan Markle Has Developed a British Accent," 7 July 2018 That hasn’t stopped the fashion world from embracing Miquela as a style icon. Time Staff, Time, "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet," 28 June 2018 And style icons like Jake Gyllenhaal and Pharrell Williams have made the caps indispensable elements of their wardrobes. Scott Christian, WSJ, "Can Men Wear a Baseball Cap Without Looking Like a Frat Boy?," 19 June 2018 Jonah Hill Has Pink Hair Now Alo Ceballos/Getty Images The low-key style icon swings for the hair-color fences. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "Jonah Hill Has Pink Hair Now," 18 June 2018 According to the Kansas City Star, a funeral Mass for the late style icon, will be held at 3 P.M. local time this Thursday, June 21st at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church. Jillian Ruffo, PEOPLE.com, "Kate Spade's Funeral to Be Held Thursday in Her Hometown of Kansas City," 18 June 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

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for icon

The first known use of icon was in 1572

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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



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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