Symbol meaning

sĭmbəl
The definition of a symbol is something that stands for or represents something else.

An example of symbol is a jack o' lantern representing Halloween.

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A sign that has a specific meaning in a specific context, such as mathematics. For example, the Greek letter (lambda) is used in physics to mean wavelength, which is the inverse of frequency, represented by the Latin letter f.
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An act or object representing an unconscious desire that has been repressed.
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An object or image that an individual unconsciously uses to represent repressed thoughts, feelings, or impulses.

A phallic symbol.

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A printed or written sign used to represent an operation, element, quantity, quality, or relation, as in mathematics or music.
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In digital communications, the smallest amount of data transmitted at one time. In a purely digital system, such as a fiber optic transmission system (FOTS), a symbol is an individual bit. In a digital system involving modulation of an analog carrier waveform, a symbol is an individual baud, or signal change, which may represent multiple bits. In Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), a broadband LAN standard, a five-bit symbol represents a four-bit nibble. See also baud, bit, FDDI, intersymbol interference, LAN, modulation, and nibble.
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A character or glyph representing an idea, concept or object.

$ is the symbol for dollars in the US and some other countries.

'#' is the octothorpe symbol.

Chinese people use word symbols for writing.

The lion is the symbol of courage; the lamb is the symbol of meekness or patience.

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Any object, typically material, which is meant to represent another (usually abstract) even if there is no meaningful relationship.

The dollar symbol has no relationship to the concept of currency or any related idea.

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(linguistics) A type of noun whereby the form refers to the same entity independently of the context; a symbol arbitrarily denotes a referent. See also icon and index.
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verb
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A conventional, printed or written figure used to represent an operation, element, quantity, relation, unit of measurement, phenomenon, or descriptor.
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Something that represents or suggests something else, usually something abstract.
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A summary of a dogmatic statement of faith.

The Apostles, Nicene Creed and the confessional books of Protestantism, such as the Augsburg Confession of Lutheranism are considered symbols.

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Visible traces or impressions, made using a writing device or tool, that are connected together and/or are slightly separated. Sometimes symbols represent objects or events that occupy space or things that are not physical and do not occupy space.
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(crystallography) The numerical expression which defines a plane's position relative to the assumed axes.
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That which is thrown into a common fund; hence, an appointed or accustomed duty.
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Share; allotment.
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A written or printed mark, letter, abbreviation, etc. standing for an object, quality, process, quantity, etc., as in music, mathematics, or chemistry.
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In data compression, a unit of data (byte, floating point number, spoken word, etc.) that is treated independently.
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Something that stands for, represents, or suggests another thing.
  • An object used to represent something abstract.
    The dove is a symbol of peace.
  • A stylized emblem.
    An upside-down Y is a peace symbol.
  • A person who represents a quality, movement, etc.
    A sex symbol.
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Origin of symbol

  • Middle English symbole creed from Old French from Latin symbolum token, mark from Greek sumbolon token for identification (by comparison with a counterpart) sun- syn- ballein to throw gwelə- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From French symbole, from Latin symbolus, symbolum (“a sign, mark, token, symbol, in Late Latin also a creed"), from Ancient Greek σύμβολον (sumbolon, “a sign by which one infers something; a mark, token, badge, ticket, tally, check, a signal, watchword, outward sign"), from συμβάλλω (sumballō, “I throw together, dash together, compare, correspond, tally, come to a conclusion"), from σύν (sun, “with, together") + βάλλω (ballō, “I throw, put")

    From Wiktionary