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

The employees of Renault, the factories of Renault, research centers, are really a symbol of French industrial excellence. Washington Post, "France’s Le Maire hopes to fortify Renault-Nissan alliance," 7 June 2019 The American flag is the symbol of our freedom, national pride and history. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "60 Cute 4th of July Instagram Captions That Will Get All the Likes," 5 June 2019 Beyond being a symbol of athletic achievement, pro model merchandise offers female skaters an important opportunity to monetize their success. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Skateboarder Alexis Sablone Makes History With Her First Sneaker," 30 May 2019 Clear, perfect skin has always been a symbol of wealth and beauty, but thanks in part to social media and millennials' skin care obsession, perfect skin has become an even greater signifier. Glamour, "Why I Never Take Advice From People With Perfect Skin," 22 May 2019 Green handkerchiefs have come to be symbol of the movement. Jake Coyle, The Seattle Times, "Abortion rights demonstration held on Cannes red carpet," 20 May 2019 Japan’s new emperor pledged to be a symbol of peace and national unity in his first public remarks after taking the throne. Peter Landers, WSJ, "Japan’s New Emperor Ascends to Chrysanthemum Throne After Father Abdicates," 30 Apr. 2019 The semicolon is a symbol used as a message against suicide and other mental health issues and represents choosing to start a new chapter in your life. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez Just Released A New Clothing Collection Inspired By Her Life," 16 May 2019 Of course, to some, Notre-Dame is also a symbol of centuries of French power and, in its more distant past, of religious persecution. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Notre-Dame Cathedral Symbolizes the Power of Architecture to Transform Lives," 16 Apr. 2019

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

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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