something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign.
a letter, figure, or other character or mark or a combination of letters or the like used to designate something:
the algebraic symbol x; the chemical symbol Au.
(especially in semiotics) a word, phrase, image, or the like having a complex of associated meanings and perceived as having inherent value separable from that which is symbolized, as being part of that which is symbolized, and as performing its normal function of standing for or representing that which is symbolized: usually conceived as deriving its meaning chiefly from the structure in which it appears, and generally distinguished from a sign.
verb (used with object), symboled, symboling or (especially British) symbolled, symbolling.
to use symbols; symbolize.
something that represents or stands for something else, usually by convention or association, esp a material object used to represent something abstract
an object, person, idea, etc, used in a literary work, film, etc, to stand for or suggest something else with which it is associated either explicitly or in some more subtle way
a letter, figure, or sign used in mathematics, science, music, etc to represent a quantity, phenomenon, operation, function, etc
(psychoanal) the end product, in the form of an object or act, of a conflict in the unconscious between repression processes and the actions and thoughts being repressed: the symbols of dreams
(psychol) any mental process that represents some feature of external reality
verb -bols, -bolling, -bolled (US) -bols, -boling, -boled
(transitive) another word for symbolize

symbol sym·bol (sĭm’bəl)

Something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention, especially a material object used to represent something invisible.

A printed or written sign used to represent an operation, an element, a quantity, or a relation, as in mathematics or chemistry.

A conventional sign.


A conventional, printed or written figure used to represent an operation, element, quantity, relation, unit of measurement, phenomenon, or descriptor. Also called sign.

symbol definition

An object or name that stands for something else, especially a material thing that stands for something that is not material. The bald eagle is a symbol of the United States of America. The cross is a symbol of Christianity. The Star of David is a symbol of Judaism.

symbol definition

Something that represents or suggests something else. Symbols often take the form of words, visual images, or gestures that are used to convey ideas and beliefs. All human cultures use symbols to express the underlying structure of their social systems, to represent ideal cultural characteristics, such as beauty, and to ensure that the culture is passed on to new generations. Symbolic relationships are learned rather than biologically or naturally determined, and each culture has its own symbols.
see: status symbol


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  • Symblepharopterygium

    symblepharopterygium sym·bleph·a·ro·pte·ryg·i·um (sĭm-blěf’ə-rō-tə-rĭj’ē-əm) n. The union of eyelid to eyeball by a cicatricial band of membrane similar to a pterygium.

  • Sympatho-

    sympatho- or sympath- pref. Sympathetic nervous system: sympathoadrenal.

  • Sympathoblast

    sympathoblast sym·pa·tho·blast (sĭm’pə-thō-blāst’) n. A primitive cell derived from neuroglia of the neural crest that develops into a cell of the adrenal medulla. Also called sympathetoblast, sympathicoblast.

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