symbolic

adjective
sym·​bol·​ic | \ sim-ˈbä-lik How to pronounce symbolic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly symbolical \ sim-​ˈbä-​li-​kəl How to pronounce symbolical (audio) \

Definition of symbolic

1a : 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

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Other Words from symbolic

symbolically \ sim-​ˈbä-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce symbolically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for symbolic

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Examples of symbolic in a Sentence

The lighting of the candles is symbolic. The sharing of the wine has symbolic meaning.
Recent Examples on the Web Yet his tour was more symbolic than anything else, and his strength to fight against Maduro will continue to erode with a game-changer in the weeks and months ahead, observers said. Washington Post, "Trump skips Miami rally, dashing hopes of Venezuelan opposition leader Guaidó," 1 Feb. 2020 When the youngest sister takes her own life, things get even bleaker and more symbolic of adolescence as a mystery and a prison. Julie Hinds, Freep.com, "These are the 50 most essential movies set in Michigan," 12 Dec. 2019 Marin Bozic, assistant professor in University of Minnesota's applied economics department, said that Dean's bankruptcy is more than just symbolic. Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "America's milk industry is struggling. Don't blame oat milk," 21 Nov. 2019 In fact, the agreement obligates no country to make any financial payments.’’ Formally getting out of the Paris agreement is bad, but at this point after years of rhetoric is more symbolic than anything, said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb. BostonGlobe.com, "The U.S. was not on track to reach its Paris pledge, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s latest projections.," 4 Nov. 2019 Formally getting out of the Paris agreement is bad, but at this point after years of rhetoric is more symbolic than anything, said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb. Fox News, "Trump can begin steps to pull US out of Paris climate deal," 4 Nov. 2019 Formally getting out of the Paris agreement is bad, but at this point after years of rhetoric is more symbolic than anything, said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb. NBC News, "Trump administration kick-starts formal withdrawal from Paris climate agreement," 4 Nov. 2019 Formally getting out of the Paris agreement is bad, but at this point after years of rhetoric is more symbolic than anything, said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb. Seth Borenstein, USA TODAY, "Trump can begin steps to pull US out of Paris climate deal," 4 Nov. 2019 Formally getting out of the Paris agreement is bad, but at this point after years of rhetoric is more symbolic than anything, said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb. CBS News, "Trump administration starts formally pulling out of the Paris climate deal," 4 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of symbolic

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for symbolic

Time Traveler

The first known use of symbolic was in 1610

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Statistics for symbolic

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Symbolic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symbolic. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for symbolic

symbolic

adjective
How to pronounce symbolic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of symbolic

: expressing or representing an idea or quality without using words
: relating to or being used as a symbol
: using symbols

symbolic

adjective
sym·​bol·​ic | \ sim-ˈbä-lik How to pronounce symbolic (audio) \
variants: also symbolical \ -​li-​kəl \

Kids Definition of symbolic

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

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Comments on symbolic

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