Symbol Definition

symboled, symboling, symbolled, symbolling, symbols
Something that stands for, represents, or suggests another thing.
Webster's New World
An instance that typifies a broader pattern or situation.
His striking out to end the rally was a symbol of everything that had gone wrong with the team over the past month.
American Heritage
A written or printed mark, letter, abbreviation, etc. standing for an object, quality, process, quantity, etc., as in music, mathematics, or chemistry.
Webster's New World
An act or object representing an unconscious desire that has been repressed.
Webster's New World

(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.


Other Word Forms of Symbol



Origin of Symbol

  • 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

  • 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


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