sym·​bol·​ize | \ ˈsim-bə-ˌlīz How to pronounce symbolize (audio) \
symbolized; symbolizing

Definition of symbolize

transitive verb

1 : to serve as a symbol of
2 : to represent, express, or identify by a symbol

Other Words from symbolize

symbolizer noun

Synonyms for symbolize


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Examples of symbolize in a Sentence

She came to symbolize the women's movement in America. the flag symbolizes our country
Recent Examples on the Web This iconic Halston gown was meant to symbolize late '70s American fashion. ELLE, 30 Apr. 2022 At her feet are an array of hats, meant to symbolize women who ran for public office in the 1920s. Christopher Arnott,, 4 Apr. 2022 But in the heart of Lviv, residents created a striking memorial: 109 empty strollers parked on the cobblestones in Rynok Square, meant to symbolize the 109 children who Ukrainian officials say have been killed by Russian bombardments. New York Times, 19 Mar. 2022 The design, a rep for the company said in a news release, was meant to symbolize coming together as a team to create change. Marc Bona, cleveland, 20 Feb. 2022 Designed in 1913, the interlocking Olympic rings were meant to symbolize the five continents competing in the Games at the time: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Laine Higgins, WSJ, 2 Feb. 2022 The bread continues to carry rich meaning, from the poppy and sesame seeds sprinkled on top that symbolize manna from God, to the plaited shape, which represents love. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, 15 Apr. 2022 Obama had folded and donated to the museum two origami paper cranes, which symbolize peace, and Emanuel and Kishida took a moment to visit the display together. Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2022 Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Monastery of the Caves features underground churches and other structures that symbolize architectural and artistic styles from the Middle Ages through the modern age. CNN, 25 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of symbolize

1603, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for symbolize

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The first known use of symbolize was in 1603

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Last Updated

2 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Symbolize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for symbolize


sym·​bol·​ize | \ ˈsim-bə-ˌlīz How to pronounce symbolize (audio) \
symbolized; symbolizing

Kids Definition of symbolize

: to serve as a representation of A lion symbolizes courage.


transitive verb
variants: also British symbolise \ ˈsim-​bə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce symbolize (audio) \
symbolized also British symbolised; symbolizing also British symbolising

Medical Definition of symbolize

1 : to serve as a symbol of
2 : to represent, express, or identify by a symbol

More from Merriam-Webster on symbolize

Nglish: Translation of symbolize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of symbolize for Arabic Speakers


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