\ ˈī-ˌkän How to pronounce icon (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ikon
plural icons also ikons

Definition of icon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person or thing widely admired especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere a civil rights icon an actor and fashion icon … Purple Rain, the flick that established Prince as a pop icon and cineaste.— Robert Christgau and Carola Dibbell That cultural icon, the Nintendo Game Boy, was released in 1989 …— Eleanor Flegg
2 : emblem, symbol Rosie the Riveter, a WWII [World War II] cultural icon with her blue jumpsuit and red bandana, represented the women who went to work at manufacturing hubs across the nation …— David DeBolt A single photograph, the photograph of Earth taken from space by William Anders, on Apollo 8, in 1968, served as an icon for the entire environmental movement.— Jill Lepore The nation's first President was transformed into an icon, a national symbol whose somewhat forbidding portrait would adorn the dollar bill.— John J. O'Connor
3a : a graphic symbol on a computer display screen that represents an app, an object (such as a file), or a function (such as the command to save)
b : a sign (such as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning
c archaic : a usually pictorial representation : image
4 [Late Greek eikōn, from Greek] in Eastern Orthodox Christianity : a representation (as in a mural, a mosaic, or a painting on wood) of sacred events or especially of a sacred individual (such as Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint) used as an object of veneration or a tool for instruction
variants: or icono-

Definition of icon- (Entry 2 of 2)

: image iconolatry

Synonyms for icon

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of icon in a Sentence

Noun Click on the icon to open your e-mail program. He has become an icon in the movie business. a singer who has become a pop icon The Statue of Liberty has become an American cultural icon.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Marilyn Monroe is an American pop icon who still has a hold on us. Good Housekeeping, 1 Oct. 2022 While her club dance music has set records for decades, her signature dirty blonde roots have shifted with her persona throughout the pop icon's life. Chelsea Avila, Allure, 28 Sep. 2022 It’s the country-pop icon’s first new music since 2017 and first under a recording agreement with Republic Nashville. Jon Freeman, Rolling Stone, 23 Sep. 2022 Sunday marks the two-year anniversary of the liberal icon's death at 87. CBS News, 17 Sep. 2022 In a cute video slideshow, the pop icon shared images of her children dancing, spending quality time with her, and overall showing off their personalities. Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 15 Sep. 2022 Ono Wenner, a friend of Lennon’s, was bereft at the news of the music icon's 1980 murder. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2022 The bust was essentially sleeveless, with gold hardware forming an off-the-shoulder lattice that draped over the pop icon's collar bones and arms. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 10 Sep. 2022 The experience wouldn’t be complete without the pop icon’s actual music. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, 9 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'icon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of icon


1572, in the meaning defined at sense 3c

History and Etymology for icon


Latin, from Greek eikōn, from eikenai to resemble

Combining form

Greek eikon-, eikono-, from eikon-, eikōn

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Statistics for icon

Last Updated

3 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Icon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icon. Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for icon


\ ˈī-ˌkän \

Kids Definition of icon

1 : a widely known symbol The Statue of Liberty has become an icon of freedom.
2 : a person who is very successful or admired a pop icon
3 : a religious image usually painted on a small wooden panel
4 : a small picture or symbol on a computer screen that represents a function that the computer can perform

More from Merriam-Webster on icon

Nglish: Translation of icon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of icon for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about icon


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