emblem

noun
em·​blem | \ ˈem-bləm How to pronounce emblem (audio) \

Definition of emblem

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a picture with a motto or set of verses intended as a moral lesson
2 : an object or the figure of an object symbolizing and suggesting another object or an idea
3a : a symbolic object used as a heraldic device
b : a device, symbol, or figure adopted and used as an identifying mark

emblem

verb
emblemed; embleming; emblems

Definition of emblem (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms for emblem

Synonyms: Noun

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Emblem Has Greek Roots

Noun

Both "emblem" and its synonym "symbol" trace back to the Greek verb ballein, meaning "to throw." "Emblem" arose from emballein, meaning "to insert," while "symbol" comes from "symballein," Greek for to throw together. "Ballein" is also an ancestor of the words "parable" (from "paraballein," "to compare"), "metabolism" (from "metaballein," "to change"), and "problem" (from "proballein," "to throw forward"). Another (somewhat surprising) "ballein" descendant is "devil," which comes from Greek diabolos, literally meaning "slanderer." "Diabolos" in turn comes from diaballein, meaning "to throw across" or "to slander."

Examples of emblem in a Sentence

Noun The flag is the emblem of our nation. He has come to be regarded as an emblem of conservatism.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But memories of the confrontation remain vividly clear in China and abroad, where the image of a lone protester standing off against a column of Chinese government tanks became an emblem of peaceful protest. Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2021 To a watching world, the garment became an emblem of Afghan women’s subjugation under Taliban rule. Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug. 2021 Srebrenica became an emblem for the dissolution of Yugoslavia – once a multiethnic state of Serbs, Croats, Muslims and others – into six countries during a bloody and brutal conflict in the early 1990s. CNN, 8 Aug. 2021 An emblem of essential elegance and always understated, this T-shirt displays the iconic Giorgio Armani style through its simplicity. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 23 June 2021 But those images also became the emblem of modern race consciousness and threaten to redefine contemporary art. Armond White, National Review, 26 May 2021 Against that backdrop, the Tonys can be seen as part emblem of recovery, part therapy-session catharsis, part intramural pep rally, and part TV commercial for Broadway. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Sep. 2021 The limited edition, which comprises 1,872 pieces, is crowned by the Montblanc emblem in mother-of-pearl. Nancy Olson, Forbes, 6 Sep. 2021 The fourth suspect is described as a Black male, brown complexion, wearing a white t-shirt with a black emblem near the collar, black pants, and black shoes. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 5 Sep. 2021

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

Noun

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1584, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for emblem

Noun

borrowed from Middle French & New Latin; Middle French embleme "symbolic image typically accompanied by a motto and a verse exposition (books of which constituted a literary genre in the Renaissance)," borrowed from New Latin emblēmat-, emblēma, going back to Latin, "inlaid pavement, inlaid relief on the inside of a metal bowl or other vessel," borrowed from Greek emblēmat-, émblēma "something inserted (as a shaft into a spearhead), relief ornament decorating silver plate," from emblē-, stem in noun derivation of embállein "to drop or place in, throw into, insert," from em-, variant of en- en- entry 2 before a labial + bállein "to reach by throwing, cast, strike, put, place" — more at devil entry 1

Note: The use of Latin emblēma in reference to a combination of symbolic image and text is apparently owed to the Italian jurist and scholar Andrea Anciato (1492-1550), who gave rise to the emblem book genre with his Emblematum liber (Augsburg, 1531). The semantic gap between the literal meaning of the word and Alciati's use of it has yet to be fully explained. Pace the comments by John F. Moffitt (Andrea Alciati, A Book of Emblems: The Emblematum Liber in Latin and English [Jefferson, NC: 2004], introduction, p. 7), neither Cicero, Quintilian, nor Coelius Rodiginus provide any definite basis for the meaning given emblēma by Alciati.

Verb

derivative of emblem entry 1

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Dictionary Entries Near emblem

emblazonry

emblem

emblema

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Emblem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emblem. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for emblem

emblem

noun

English Language Learners Definition of emblem

: an object or picture used to suggest a thing that cannot be shown
: a person or thing that represents an idea

emblem

noun
em·​blem | \ ˈem-bləm How to pronounce emblem (audio) \

Kids Definition of emblem

: an object or an image used to suggest a thing that cannot be pictured The flag is the emblem of our nation.

Choose the Right Synonym for emblem

emblem, symbol, and token mean a visible thing that stands for something that cannot be pictured. emblem is usually used of an object or a picture that stands for a group such as a family, an organization, or a nation. The eagle is one of our national emblems. symbol may be used of anything that is understood as a sign for something else. The lion is the symbol of courage. token is used of an object or act that shows the existence of something else. This gift is a token of our love.

More from Merriam-Webster on emblem

Nglish: Translation of emblem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of emblem for Arabic Speakers

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