icon·​ic | \ ī-ˈkä-nik How to pronounce iconic (audio) \

Definition of iconic

1 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an icon
2a : widely recognized and well-established an iconic brand name
b : widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence an iconic writer a region's iconic wines

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Other Words from iconic

iconically \ ī-​ˈkä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce iconic (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

The original meaning of iconic was essentially "resembling an icon," but today it often describes what is so admired that it could be the subject of an icon. And with that use, iconic has become part of the language of advertising and publicity: companies and magazines and TV hosts encourage us to think of some consumer item or pop star or show as first-rate or immortal or flawless—absolutely "iconic"—when he or she or it is actually simply widely known and—they assert—distinctively excellent.

Examples of iconic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Although the watch isn’t radically different from the diver that’s become a fixture of so many watch collections, a closer look reveals that with this model, the watchmaker was still experimenting with its now-iconic design. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, "One of the Rarest, Early Rolex Submariners Is Heading to Auction This Weekend," 7 May 2021 Christopher John Rogers, who designed Harris' now-iconic purple coat and dress worn at the inauguration, will also create a custom outfit for the museum. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Kamala Harris will be the first vice president honored with a wax figure at Madame Tussauds," 29 Apr. 2021 Kate walked down the aisle in a custom—and now iconic—Alexander McQueen dress by Sarah Burton. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Kate Middleton and Prince William Celebrate Their Tenth Anniversary With Two Joyful New Portraits," 28 Apr. 2021 Kate wore a now-iconic Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress, paired with the Cartier Scroll tiara, lent to her by Queen Elizabeth. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton and Prince William Release New Photos Ahead of Their Tenth Anniversary," 28 Apr. 2021 Twilight is ridiculously silly, but at the same time, ridiculously iconic. Wolfgang Ruth, Vulture, "Twilight Is Forever Camp-Cringe Royalty," 21 Apr. 2021 The anonymous street artist behind the original don't-call-it-iconic design descended on us once again and restored his trademark to one of Houston's prime spots of artwork real estate. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "'Be Someome' sign is back, and it better stick around," 20 Apr. 2021 The now-iconic spike protein represents a fairly simple mechanism for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to get into cells and begin replicating. Fortune, "How mRNA vaccines like Moderna’s and Pfizer’s are propelling us into the ‘new golden age’ of vaccinology," 16 Apr. 2021 Our radical design – iconic, intelligent, aesthetically-pleasing – is intentional. Bill Springer, Forbes, "Will Scientists Save The World Aboard This Nuclear-Powered 980-Foot-Long Superyacht?," 12 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'iconic.' 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 iconic

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for iconic

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Iconic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iconic. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on iconic

Nglish: Translation of iconic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of iconic for Arabic Speakers

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