symbolism

noun

sym·​bol·​ism ˈsim-bə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce symbolism (audio)
1
: the art or practice of using symbols especially by investing things with a symbolic meaning or by expressing the invisible or intangible by means of visible or sensuous representations: such as
a
: artistic imitation or invention that is a method of revealing or suggesting immaterial, ideal, or otherwise intangible truth or states
b
: the use of conventional or traditional signs in the representation of divine beings and spirits
2
: a system of symbols or representations

Examples of symbolism in a Sentence

The story was filled with religious symbolism.
Recent Examples on the Web There was a wide array of religious symbolism on the floor of the Fiserv Forum the first night of the convention, where a panoply of screens beamed images of the American flag and Christian cross onto an eager crowd between speeches. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, 18 July 2024 Kate Middleton debuted a new look full of positive symbolism for her first solo appearance of the year at Wimbledon. Monique Jessen, Peoplemag, 15 July 2024 Then there's the question of the lingering symbolism a church carries. Sophie Carson, Journal Sentinel, 10 July 2024 Religious symbolism, such as Koranic verses, also features heavily, casting Hamas’s struggle as a spiritual one. Robert A. Pape, Foreign Affairs, 21 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for symbolism 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'symbolism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of symbolism was in 1654

Dictionary Entries Near symbolism

Cite this Entry

“Symbolism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symbolism. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

symbolism

noun
sym·​bol·​ism ˈsim-bə-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce symbolism (audio)
1
: the art or practice of using symbols
2
: a system of symbols or representations

Medical Definition

symbolism

noun
sym·​bol·​ism ˈsim-bə-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce symbolism (audio)
: the art or practice of using symbols especially by investing things with a symbolic meaning or by expressing the invisible or intangible by means of visible or sensuous representations

More from Merriam-Webster on symbolism

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