icon·​o·​clast | \ ī-ˈkä-nə-ˌklast How to pronounce iconoclast (audio) \

Definition of iconoclast

1 : a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions
2 : a person who destroys religious images or opposes their veneration

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Other Words from iconoclast

iconoclastic \ (ˌ)ī-​ˌkä-​nə-​ˈkla-​stik How to pronounce iconoclast (audio) \ adjective
iconoclastically \ (ˌ)ī-​ˌkä-​nə-​ˈkla-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce iconoclast (audio) \ adverb

For the Meaning of Iconoclast, Break It Down

Iconoclast is a word that often shows up on vocabulary lists and College Board tests. How will you remember the meaning of this vocabulary-boosting term? If you already know the word icon, you're halfway there. An icon is a picture that represents something. The most common icons today are those little images on our computers and smartphones that represent a program or function, but in the still-recent past, the most common icons were religious images. Icon comes from the Greek eikōn, which is from eikenai, meaning "to resemble." Iconoclast comes to us by way of Medieval Latin from Middle Greek eikonoklastēs, which joins eikōn with a form of the word klan, meaning "to break." Iconoclast literally means "image destroyer."

Examples of iconoclast in a Sentence

notorious as an iconoclast, that music critic isn't afraid to go after sacred cows
Recent Examples on the Web Meijer's district had been held for a decade by Justin Amash, a libertarian-leaning iconoclast who was fiercely critical of Trump and was the first House Republican to call for his impeachment. Jonathan Weisman New York Times, Star Tribune, 8 July 2021 Elon Musk with Tesla was the first auto chief to recognize this, and that was little surprise, given his status as an outsider, an industry neophyte and a downright once-in-a-century iconoclast. Dale Buss, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Every one of these women is a low-key iconoclast with an Instagram-worthy sense of style that’s too cool for Instagram. Jen Chaney, Vulture, 10 June 2021 Being an iconoclast can actually open up surprising opportunities to control and reduce IT costs, while giving you better tools. Tony Zorc, Forbes, 24 May 2021 At the start of his mayoral campaign, Adams flirted with positioning himself as an iconoclast. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 22 May 2021 Kim Schultz's solo play, presented in a virtual reading that's being streamed, argues that the iconoclast was not lonely at all. Star Tribune, 6 May 2021 Manchin is considered an iconoclast in his party, with strong ties to his Republican colleagues. Grace Segers, CBS News, 23 Apr. 2021 Still, for buyers looking for a plug-in hybrid with concept-car looks, the Karma remains an iconoclast's choice. Steve Siler, Car and Driver, 21 Apr. 2021

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

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for iconoclast

Medieval Latin iconoclastes, from Middle Greek eikonoklastēs, literally, image destroyer, from Greek eikono- + klan to break — more at clast

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Time Traveler for iconoclast

Time Traveler

The first known use of iconoclast was in 1641

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Iconoclast.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iconoclast. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for iconoclast



English Language Learners Definition of iconoclast

formal : a person who criticizes or opposes beliefs and practices that are widely accepted

More from Merriam-Webster on iconoclast

Nglish: Translation of iconoclast for Spanish Speakers


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