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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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 Among the specific signage that is barred by the league’s fan code of conduct this year is the Iron Front symbol, an emblem with three arrows pointing downward which was first used by an anti-Nazi paramilitary organization in Germany in the 1930s. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Emerald City Supporters stage walkout during Sounders game to protest MLS ban on Iron Front symbol," 16 Sep. 2019 Supporters' groups maintain the symbol represents opposition to fascism and persecution—a human rights issue, not a political stance. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Timbers Army, Other Fans Protest MLS Ban on Political Displays at Sounders Game," 23 Aug. 2019 The photo prompted Anne Frank's stepsister, Eva Schloss, to visit the students and educate them on why such symbols were painful and offensive. Jason Hanna, CNN, "California school reopens an investigation of a Nazi salute video, saying other images have emerged," 21 Aug. 2019 This symbol of strength, power and good luck in Chinese culture was part of the lingering festivities following the Chinese New Year 10 days earlier. Doug Hansen, chicagotribune.com, "Beautifully modern Singapore," 20 Aug. 2019 The symbol of this country before Donald Trump was president was the Statue of Liberty. NBC News, "Democratic debate transcript: July 31, 2019," 1 Aug. 2019 The son placed the flag on a utility pole near his home, prompting some residents to complain that an offensive symbol was on public property. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Controversy over Blue Lives Matter flag forces family of fallen officer to remove it from utility pole," 29 July 2019 The symbols are different, at least, which may provide some comfort. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Reportedly Got Matching Tattoos Just Before Their Separation," 26 July 2019 The largest, most visible symbols of the onslaught of tourists on Venice’s canals have been cruise ships that carry hundreds of people into the heart of the historic center. Palko Karasz, BostonGlobe.com, "Morning coffee results in a $1,000 fine and expulsion from Venice," 20 July 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

2 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce symbol (audio)

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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Comments on symbol

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not being in agreement or harmony

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