\ ˈī-ˌkän How to pronounce icon (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of icon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
2 : an object of uncritical devotion : idol
3 : emblem, symbol the house became an icon of 1960's residential architecture— Paul Goldberger
4 [Late Greek eikōn, from Greek] : a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians
5 : a usually pictorial representation : image
variants: or icono-

Definition of icon- (Entry 2 of 2)

: image iconolatry

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With uncertainty abound amid the coronavirus outbreak, a rattled public is clutching to glimmers of hope and levity, including embracing Deborah Birx as a pop culture icon. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Deborah Birx earns fashion clout amid coronavirus tumult," 25 Mar. 2020 The dabbawalas, an army of super-efficient lunch-box delivery persons and another identifiable city icon, will also be off the streets till March 31. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Coronavirus forces Mumbai’s iconic local trains to keep the general public off for 10 days," 21 Mar. 2020 Pinball icon by Ben Davis from the Noun Project A version of this article will appear in print on March 8, 2020, on Page A1 of the San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio home to a world-ranked pinball wizard," 5 Mar. 2020 Fearless about celebrating self-love, Lizzo has been embraced as a prominent icon of body positivity. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Houston's Lizzo brings down the house at the 2020 Brit Awards," 19 Feb. 2020 While liberal historians such as Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Sean Wilentz embrace Jackson as a flawed but potent symbol of American democracy, most historians have discarded Jackson as an icon of white supremacy. Daniel Gullota, National Review, "Donald Trump Is No Andrew Jackson," 10 Feb. 2020 Trump also orchestrated dazzling reality-show reveals, such as first lady Melania Trump awarding talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Author: Robert Costa, Philip Rucker, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s resilience causes Democrats to sound the alarm," 9 Feb. 2020 The general was seen as a national icon, and hundreds of thousands of Iranians had turned out for funeral processions across the country. Nasser Karimi, BostonGlobe.com, "Iran announces its military ‘unintentionally’ shot down Ukrainian jetliner," 11 Jan. 2020 Oh, and then there was Rihanna, who not-so-casually dominated the entire decade and solidified her status as a trendsetting style icon. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "The Best Celebrity Fashion Moments of the 2010s," 10 Dec. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of icon


1572, in the meaning defined at sense 5

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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Last Updated

1 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Icon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icon. Accessed 4 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for icon


How to pronounce icon- (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of icon

computers : a small picture on a computer screen that represents a program or function
: a person who is very successful and admired
: a widely known symbol


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on icon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for icon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with icon

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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