symbolism

noun
sym·​bol·​ism | \ ˈsim-bə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce symbolism (audio) \

Definition of symbolism

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

At the same time, that symbolism is bittersweet, as series creator Bruce Miller noted. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Threw a "Handmaid's Tale" Birthday Party and Fans Are Not Happy," 9 June 2019 The symbolism is more apt than Mr. Nadler recognizes. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Don McGahn’s Immunity," 21 May 2019 The four seats in mahjong are named after the compass directions, which plays an important role both in the rules of the game and in the symbolism of the scene. Jeff Yang, Vox, "The symbolism of Crazy Rich Asians’ pivotal mahjong scene, explained," 20 Aug. 2018 Revel in the symbolism of the music business going above and beyond to do right by the black music community. Bill Werde, Billboard, "Werde: Move the Grammys to Atlanta," 27 Jan. 2018 Apparently, there's a whole lot of symbolism in it. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Who is Taylor Swift's New BFF, Muralist Kelsey Montague?," 25 Apr. 2019 Voters also nominated Corey Stewart, a Prince William County supervisor and commonwealth carbon of Trump — best known as a defender of Confederate symbolism — to take on Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in November. Mark Z. Barabak, latimes.com, "Trump puts stranglehold on GOP — and woe to any Republican who objects," 13 June 2018 The inspiration is the Greek tradition of dyeing eggs in every home on Holy Thursday before Easter Sunday, as well as a more universal symbolism of eggs as creation and the beginning of a new cycle of life. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Easter Egg Charms are the Perfect Last Minute Easter Gift," 18 Apr. 2019 The monument, a former church built in the 18th century that has become a famous mausoleum, has symbolism of its own. Thomas Adamson, The Seattle Times, "France shows Britons splendor of citizenship as Brexit looms," 24 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'symbolism.' 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 symbolism

1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for symbolism

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for symbolism

The first known use of symbolism was in 1654

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More Definitions for symbolism

symbolism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of symbolism

: the use of symbols to express or represent ideas or qualities in literature, art, etc.
: the particular idea or quality that is expressed by a symbol

symbolism

noun
sym·​bol·​ism | \ ˈsim-bə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce symbolism (audio) \

Kids Definition of symbolism

1 : the use of symbols to represent an idea or quality The story was filled with symbolism.
2 : the meaning of a symbol What is the symbolism of the lion and lamb in this picture?

symbolism

noun
sym·​bol·​ism | \ ˈsim-bə-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce symbolism (audio) \

Medical Definition of symbolism

: 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on symbolism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with symbolism

Spanish Central: Translation of symbolism

Nglish: Translation of symbolism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of symbolism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about symbolism

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