iconoclast

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

No matter the lineup, the ensemble remains dedicated to presenting some of the best music made by a 20th-century iconoclast. Houston Chronicle, "The Must List: Mogwai, Asian action movies," 15 Aug. 2019 French revolutionaries, like our modern iconoclasts who topple statues of Confederate soldiers in the night, often went wild destroying monuments, portraits, and names affiliated with the Ancien Régime and the Catholic Church. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Cowardly Incoherence of Name-Changing, Statue-Toppling, and other Iconoclasms," 25 June 2019 In the end, Houellebecq comes across not as a brave iconoclast, nor as a serious conservative thinker, but as a cranky old white man yelling at those kids across the Atlantic to get off his lawn. Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Letters," 10 Mar. 2019 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 Bikepacking, which partly traces its roots to Mike Curiak’s 2003 individual time trial on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, has long been the realm of iconoclasts and hermits trying to escape alone into the woods. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "Bikepacking.com Is Revolutionizing the Sport," 20 June 2018 There is less anxiety in Washington about Braun, who is a relative outsider but not an iconoclast. Mike Debonis And Michael Scherer, chicagotribune.com, "In Indiana and West Virginia, Republican candidates run against a capital run by Republicans," 6 May 2018 However, Uchis has been edging towards this moment for years, with a mixtape and EP under her belt, and a string of singles and guest features that positioned her as an R&B iconoclast. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 10 Artists We're Most Looking Forward to Seeing at Coachella This Weekend," 11 Apr. 2018 No suitable postings had been identified, leaving McMaster – long an iconoclast among the top brass – with no choice but retirement. The Christian Science Monitor, "Bolton set to replace McMaster as Trump's national security adviser," 23 Mar. 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

24 Aug 2019

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

formal : 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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