Definition of “symbol” - English Dictionary

“symbol” in British English

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symbolnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈsɪm.bəl/ us /ˈsɪm.bəl/

B2 a sign, shape, or object that is used to represent something else:

A heart shape is the symbol of love.
The wheel in the Indian flag is a symbol of peace.

something that is used to represent a quality or idea:

Water, a symbol of life, recurs as an image throughout her poems.

a number, letter, or sign used in mathematics, music, science, etc.:

The symbol for oxygen is O.

An object can be described as a symbol of something else if it seems to represent it because it is connected with it in a lot of people's minds:

The private jet is a symbol of wealth.

More examples

  • For many people the horseshoe is a symbol of good luck.
  • The Berlin Wall was a potent symbol of the Cold War.
  • The red cross symbol was painted on each side of the vehicle.
  • He described sport as a symbol of peace and a means of promoting fraternity between nations.
  • The symbol © shows that something is protected by copyright.

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

“symbol” in American English

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symbolnoun [ C ]

us /ˈsɪm·bəl/

anything used to represent something else, such as a sign or mark, a person, or an event:

Five interlocking rings is the symbol of the Olympic games.
She’s a symbol of hope for people living with this condition.

Symbols are used in mathematics, music, and science and also have various practical uses:

The symbol on this label means that the shirt is washable.
adjective us /sɪmˈbɑl·ɪk/

The Oval Office in the White House has come to be regarded as symbolic of the presidency.
adverb /sɪmˈbɑl·ɪk·li/

(Definition of “symbol” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“symbol” in Business English

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symbolnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈsɪmbəl/ us

a sign, shape, or object that is used to represent something else:

The Nike tick is an instantly recognizable symbol.

something that shows someone's position in society:

The BlackBerry and the iPhone, initially symbols of high status, have become popular choices in the marketplace.
Owning a car has become a symbol of success in China's main cities.

STOCK MARKET →  ticker

See also

(Definition of “symbol” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)