Meaning of “symbolic” in the English Dictionary

"symbolic" in British English

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uk /sɪmˈbɒl.ɪk/ us /sɪmˈbɑː.lɪk/ also symbolical,

C2 representing something else:

The skull at the bottom of the picture is symbolic of death.

used to refer to an action that expresses or seems to express an intention or feeling, but has little practical influence on a situation:

Five hundred troops were sent in, more as a symbolic gesture than as a real threat.

More examples

  • The dove is symbolic of peace.
  • Wedding rings are intended to be symbolic of love and commitment.
  • Symbolic representations of various features are explained in the key.
  • He knelt on the floor as a symbolic gesture.
  • Today's protests are symbolic of general public opinion on this issue.
adverb uk /sɪmˈbɒl.ɪ.kəl.i/ us /sɪmˈbɑː.lɪ.kəl.i/

(Definition of “symbolic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)