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

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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 In these divisive times, the unlikely bond between an Asian-American police officer and a homeless black man has emerged as a symbol of hope. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Friendship Between Atlanta Police Officer and Homeless Man Inspires Hope," 3 May 2021 The lion emblem has been used by the royal family for centuries as a symbol of bravery and strength. CNN, "Giant gold coin weighs 22 pounds and took 400 hours to create," 29 Apr. 2021 Roberts' applause was notable because Supreme Court justices typically abstain from reacting during presidential addresses as a symbol of the Judiciary Branch's nonpartisanship. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "A Biden-Cheney fistbump, a sleepy Ted Cruz and John Roberts clapping: Moments you might have missed during Biden's address to Congress," 29 Apr. 2021 And chose an electric green hue for her custom Louis Vuitton column gown as a symbol of positivity at the SAG Awards. Kaitlyn Frey, PEOPLE.com, "Viola Davis Brings Ethereal Glamour to the 2021 Oscars in White Alexander McQueen Gown," 25 Apr. 2021 The team even has a chancla-carrying mascot named Mama Peño, billed as a symbol of the Latina lady of the house who packs plenty of love and discipline behind that flip-flop. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "The chancla has become a venerated symbol of Mexican American culture and here's why and how," 22 Apr. 2021 Aside from medicine, the horns are often seen as a symbol of high social status and purchased as gifts. Jennifer Hassan, Anchorage Daily News, "Elephants trample suspected rhino poacher to death in South African national park," 20 Apr. 2021 Aside from medicine, the horns are often seen as a symbol of high social status and purchased as gifts. Washington Post, "Elephants trample suspected rhino poacher to death in South African national park," 20 Apr. 2021 Questions about the end of the queen’s reign will also fuel the debate over the long-term future of the monarchy, seen by many as a symbol of national unity but by others as an obsolete vestige of the nation’s feudal history. Danica Kirka, chicagotribune.com, "Queen enters ‘twilight’ of reign after farewell to Philip," 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Press and hold the app icon, tap App Info (the i symbol), and tap Permissions. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, "The 11 Best New Features in Android 11," 8 Sep. 2020 The Unicode Consortium—the organization in charge of determining which symbols our devices are supposed to recognize—has more and more been measuring the wrong thing in the process of approving new emoji. Wired, "New Emoji Are So Boring—but They Don't Have to Be," 8 Nov. 2019 Drawing route cards and placing trains remains the same, but most tracks on the board that connect two cities also have one or more railroad company symbols next to them. Keith Law, Ars Technica, "Ranked: Every Ticket to Ride map," 12 Oct. 2019 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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Time Traveler for symbol

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for symbol

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Symbol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symbol. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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 symbol (audio) \ adjective
symbolically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce symbol (audio) \ adverb

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