symbolic

adjective sym·bol·ic \ sim-ˈbä-lik \
variants: or less commonly symbolical play \sim-ˈbä-li-kəl\
Updated on: 20 May 2018

Definition of symbolic

1 a : using, employing, or exhibiting a symbol
b : consisting of or proceeding by means of symbols
2 : of, relating to, or constituting a symbol
3 : characterized by or terminating in symbols
  • symbolic thinking
4 : characterized by symbolism
  • a symbolic dance

symbolically

play \sim-ˈbä-li-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of symbolic in a Sentence

  1. The lighting of the candles is symbolic.

  2. The sharing of the wine has symbolic meaning.

Recent Examples of symbolic from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'symbolic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of symbolic

1610

in the meaning defined at sense 1a

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

symbolic Synonyms



SYMBOLIC Defined for English Language Learners

symbolic

Definition of symbolic for English Language Learners

  • : expressing or representing an idea or quality without using words

  • : relating to or being used as a symbol

  • : using symbols


SYMBOLIC Defined for Kids

symbolic

adjective sym·bol·ic \ sim-ˈbä-lik \
variants: also symbolical \-li-kəl\

Definition of symbolic for Students

: of, relating to, or using symbols or symbolism
  • Lighting the candles has a symbolic meaning.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up symbolic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to coax or persuade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • spring-flowers
  • Which is a synonym of raillery?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!