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

Chanel was, famously, a believer in signs and symbols. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Coco Chanel's Beloved Glass Deer Statuette is Now For Sale," 26 Apr. 2019 For decades, the biggest symbol of this Midwestern city’s decline was the vacant Studebaker plant at one end of the city with its broken windows. Kris Maher, WSJ, "Pete Buttigieg Launches Presidential Bid in South Bend," 14 Apr. 2019 But in the aughts, the then-emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, wanted a more potent symbol of national identity. Julie Lasky, ELLE Decor, "ED First Look: The National Museum of Qatar," 26 Mar. 2019 The symbol at the center of the flag is a chickee, a form of housing widely used by members of the Seminole tribe and is representative of the Seminole Tribal Council. Jane Coaston, Vox, "The pipe bomb suspect’s van, explained," 27 Oct. 2018 The symbol of the Kaanul dynasty were stone masks carved in the form of grinning snakes. Fox News, "Experts: Mayan altar hints at ancient intrigue," 14 Sep. 2018 Yet the American flag is so visceral partly because the symbol is so contested. Michael D. Breidenbach, The Atlantic, "Raising the American Flag Made in China," 4 July 2018 Zyuko22 starts their theory by pointing out how Beric Dondarrion put a flaming sword through a wight in the middle of the Weirwood Tree symbol during last week's episode. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "This Theory Suggests Game of Thrones Already Revealed How to Kill the Night King," 18 Apr. 2019 Ed Ruscha appropriates the symbol of the car to address the meaning of things. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Rimowa Kicks Off Milan Design Week with a Stunning Aluminum Car Sculpture," 9 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

18 May 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

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