\ 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 Former President Barack Obama will reportedly deliver a eulogy at the funeral of civil rights icon John Lewis. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Obama to give eulogy at civil rights icon John Lewis's funeral," 29 July 2020 San Francisco’s most recognizable icon, the cable car, likely won’t glide up Powell Street again until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available. Anna Buchmann, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Homelessness surging in the suburbs," 9 July 2020 While the legal wheels grind ahead, this American icon, with his own star on Hollywood Boulevard, is buried in an unmarked grave in Oslo, Norway. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Casey Kasem's wife, children accused each other of "killing" radio icon," 4 July 2020 To control who can view what, tap Profile in the mobile app, then the cog icon (top right). David Nield, Popular Science, "Your favorite apps might be sharing too much about you. Here’s how to make sure they don’t.," 24 June 2020 Creating a voice tweet is similar to regular tweeting, but users tap a new icon with wavelengths on it to record. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "Twitter will let you tweet with your voice," 17 June 2020 The Florida legislature voted in 2018 to replace a likeness of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith with African-American education and civil rights icon Mary McLeod Bethune. Support real journalism. James Salzer, ajc, "Resolution filed to replace Confederate VP with MLK in US Capitol," 17 June 2020 Customize the Air Max 2090 to match Dad’s favorite sport, lifestyle icon and colors. oregonlive, "Father’s Day: Great sports, exercise gift ideas to get dads fit," 14 June 2020 In Birmingham, cradle of the civil rights movement and icon of nonviolent resistance, peaceful protest is currently banned 19 hours a day. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al, "Birmingham bans protests 19 hours a day. That’s likely unconstitutional, experts say," 8 June 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

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Icon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icon. Accessed 11 Aug. 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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