symbol

noun
sym·​bol | \ ˈsim-bəl How to pronounce symbol (audio) \

Definition of symbol

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an authoritative summary of faith or doctrine : creed
2 : something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance especially : a visible sign of something invisible the lion is a symbol of courage
3 : an arbitrary or conventional sign used in writing or printing relating to a particular field to represent operations, quantities, elements, relations, or qualities
4 : an object or act representing something in the unconscious mind that has been repressed phallic symbols
5 : an act, sound, or object having cultural significance and the capacity to excite or objectify a response

symbol

verb
symboled or symbolled; symboling or symbolling

Definition of symbol (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms for symbol

Synonyms: Noun

emblem, ensign, hallmark, impresa, logo, totem, trademark

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Examples of symbol in a Sentence

Noun

the traditional physician's symbol of a staff entwined with a snake the symbol ¶ indicates where a new paragraph should begin

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

How did these gorgeous trees become a symbol of friendship between the two countries? Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "How Cherry Blossoms Became the Most Celebrated Event of the Spring," 2 Apr. 2019 The fire in Banani, a busy upscale commercial district, exposed the vulnerabilities hidden behind the glass towers that have become symbols of Bangladesh’s rapid growth. Julhas Alam, The Seattle Times, "Bangladesh building fire exposes safety vulnerabilities," 29 Mar. 2019 The Irish singer's lyrics became a symbol of hope after the tragic 9/11 attacks, and has even been featured on a Friends episode. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "20 Best Irish Songs to Help You Celebrate St. Patrick's Day," 13 Feb. 2019 The Really Big Bow Over time, bows, like the color pink, have become symbols of femininity. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "5 Takeaways From Spring 2019 Couture," 26 Jan. 2019 Maurice Audin has become the symbol of France's abuses during the brutal war in its former colony that ended with Algeria's independence in 1962. Elaine Ganley, Fox News, "France's Macron admits system of torture during Algeria war," 13 Sep. 2018 White White is a symbol of purity, used during all feasts of the Lord and during the season of Easter to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Madison Alcedo, Country Living, "The Real Meaning Behind the Colors of Easter," 8 Mar. 2019 For many in Brazil, one of the world’s most unequal countries, Franco was a symbol of hope, in large part because such prominence for a black woman from a poor neighborhood was rare. Sergio Ramalho, The Seattle Times, "Sister of slain Brazilian councilwoman calls for justice," 14 Jan. 2019 Better known as mums, the chrysanthemum flower is a symbol of optimism and joy. Chanel Vargas, Town & Country, "12 Best Valentine's Day Flower Arrangements for That Special Someone," 18 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To me that demonstrated the central role that symbols play in the culture. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "Why Americans Flocked to Catch a Glimpse of Hitler’s Car," 16 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'symbol.' 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 symbol

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1832, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for symbol

Noun

in sense 1, from Late Latin symbolum, from Late Greek symbolon, from Greek, token, sign; in other senses from Latin symbolum token, sign, symbol, from Greek symbolon, literally, token of identity verified by comparing its other half, from symballein to throw together, compare, from syn- + ballein to throw — more at devil

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Statistics for symbol

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for symbol

The first known use of symbol was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for symbol

symbol

noun

English Language Learners Definition of symbol

: an action, object, event, etc., that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality
: a letter, group of letters, character, or picture that is used instead of a word or group of words

symbol

noun
sym·​bol | \ ˈsim-bəl How to pronounce symbol (audio) \

Kids Definition of symbol

1 : something that stands for something else : emblem The eagle is a symbol of the United States.
2 : a letter, character, or sign used instead of a word to represent a quantity, position, relationship, direction, or something to be done The sign + is the symbol for addition.

symbol

noun
sym·​bol | \ ˈsim-bəl How to pronounce symbol (audio) \

Medical Definition of symbol

: something that stands for or suggests something else: as
a : an arbitrary or conventional sign used in writing or printing relating to a particular field to represent operations, quantities, elements, relations, or qualities
b : an object or act representing something in the unconscious mind that has been repressed phallic symbols

Other Words from symbol

symbolic \ sim-​ˈbäl-​ik How to pronounce symbolic (audio) \ adjective
symbolically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce symbolically (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on symbol

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with symbol

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for symbol

Spanish Central: Translation of symbol

Nglish: Translation of symbol for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of symbol for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about symbol

Comments on symbol

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