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

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 Frank Zappa – The Grand Wazoo Rock iconoclast Frank Zappa was drawn to big-band jazz for reasons of circumstance as much as inspiration. Spin Staff, SPIN, 22 Apr. 2022 Juggling motherhood and creative work can leave one feeling like an iconoclast and a failure all at once. Lauren Leblanc, Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Nothing Compares tells the story of O’Connor’s life as a musician, mother, and iconoclast in her own words. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 19 Apr. 2022 These rules should not concern the cycling iconoclast, nor should new tech trouble the traditionalist. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, 1 Apr. 2022 But people like Miller, an iconoclast with a frontier pragmatism, see themselves as being forced to accept a vaccine that runs counter to their religious beliefs, distrust of pharmaceutical companies and their suspicions about scientific consensus. Jaweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan. 2022 Some would call Spielberg a crowd-pleaser and Campion an iconoclast, a reductive contrast that nonetheless carries an obvious grain of truth. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 27 Mar. 2022 In fact, Brown was a seductive iconoclast with a Katharine Hepburn mane and a compulsion for ignoring the rules. Anna Holmes, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2022 The New Zealand director has long been celebrated as an iconoclast, a woman whose radiant films meld beauty and barbarism in their depiction of the world and the flawed humans inhabiting it. Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of iconoclast was in 1641

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Dictionary Entries Near iconoclast

iconoclasm

iconoclast

iconodule

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Iconoclast.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iconoclast. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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