iconoclast

noun
icon·​o·​clast | \ī-ˈkä-nə-ˌklast \

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 \ adjective
iconoclastically \(ˌ)ī-​ˌkä-​nə-​ˈkla-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, another baseball iconoclast, has already used position player on the mound six times, including star first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Why More Position Players Are Pitching," 26 July 2018 Since then, a number of iconoclasts ranging from Andy Warhol to Elvis Presley have sworn by specific ways to stay trim. Allie Conti, Marie Claire, "How Are Appetite Suppressing Lollipops Still a Thing?," 5 Oct. 2018 This remained true during the 1930s, when Elsa Schiaparelli, ever the iconoclast, made leopard booties. Nancy Macdonell, WSJ, "Is Leopard Print Tacky or Classic? A Historical Debate," 18 Sep. 2018 My mom and dad have always been iconoclasts, travelers themselves, not especially big on babies except their own. Jill Gleeson, Woman's Day, "After Three Miscarriages and Divorce, I Still Think About the Children I Never Had," 24 Apr. 2017 As Andreas-Salomé grows from a youthful iconoclast to become the first female psychoanalyst in Europe, she is played by four actresses, each portraying her at a different age. Teo Bugbee, New York Times, "Review: ‘Lou Andreas-Salomé’ Places a Great Woman in Her Time," 19 Apr. 2018 With apologies to the Geto Boys and their gangster anthem, the Outlaw Music Festival made a smashing Indiana debut led by national treasure Willie Nelson and rising iconoclast Sturgill Simpson. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "5 reasons Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson and friends made Outlaw festival the place to be," 24 June 2018 Both founders contradict the stereotype of crypto-enthusiasts as wild, lawless iconoclasts. The Economist, "A disciplined startup emerges from the Wild West of crypto-currency," 28 June 2018 The 72-year-old iconoclast hadn’t seen the show in production before Saturday night. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Cher sneaks into Chicago. And what does she think of 'The Cher Show'?," 25 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near iconoclast

iconic

iconicity

iconoclasm

iconoclast

iconodule

iconodulist

iconoduly

Statistics for iconoclast

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for iconoclast

The first known use of iconoclast was in 1641

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More Definitions for iconoclast

iconoclast

noun

English Language Learners Definition of iconoclast

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on iconoclast

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with iconoclast

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for iconoclast

Spanish Central: Translation of iconoclast

Nglish: Translation of iconoclast for Spanish Speakers

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