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 Manchin is considered an iconoclast in his party, with strong ties to his Republican colleagues. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Democrat Joe Manchin backs Republican Lisa Murkowski for reelection," 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, "2021 Karma GS-6 Fixes the Fisker Karma," 21 Apr. 2021 His public persona as a cultural renegade, an incorrigible iconoclast and social rebel hugged the headlines. Sanya Osha, Quartz, "Is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ready for Fela Kuti?," 18 Apr. 2021 My first and greatest journey as an iconoclast and business leader, was questioning how accounting technology was used. Tony Zorc, Forbes, "Redefining Accounting: An Iconoclast’s Journey In CRM," 19 Mar. 2021 Guy Pearce plays Father Peter Costello, a tough-talking exorcist who had a traumatic encounter with a demon in his early years and has since developed a reputation as a cynical iconoclast. Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Exorcism thriller ‘The Seventh Day’ is too ponderous to raise a decent scare," 25 Mar. 2021 An iconoclast is an individual who challenges the prescribed or established way of doing things, finds a better way, creates a plan for change, and executes it. Tony Zorc, Forbes, "Redefining Accounting: An Iconoclast’s Journey In CRM," 19 Mar. 2021 As the documentary unravels the story of Styrene's life, co-director and narrator Bell unwinds her knotty feelings toward her mother, an undeniably inspirational iconoclast who also wasn’t the best of parents. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "'Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché' Doc Explores Punk Trailblazer In All Her Contradictions," 17 Mar. 2021 Immediately afterwards part three, held in Shanghai’s flagship Hermès maison, will return to dance through the choreography of the exciting classical iconoclast Gu Jiani. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "The Live Hermès Show Will Dance Across the Planet From New York to Paris to Shanghai," 3 Mar. 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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Iconoclast.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iconoclast. Accessed 6 May. 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for iconoclast

Nglish: Translation of iconoclast for Spanish Speakers

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