- serving as a symbol of something (often followed by of).
- of, relating to, or expressed by a symbol.
- characterized by or involving the use of symbols: a highly symbolic poem.
- (in semantics, especially formerly) pertaining to a class of words that express only relations.Compare notional(def 7).
- Computers. expressed in characters, usually nonnumeric, that require translation before they can be used (opposed to absolute).
Sometimes sym·bol·i·cal (for defs 1–4).
Origin of symbolic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for symbolic
Bridging the divide between the police and those who distrust them will take more than protests and symbolic gestures.How to Solve the Policing Crisis
January 5, 2015
Your death is symbolic of the harsh reality facing so many of us.Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen
January 1, 2015
Along the way, he accidentally embeds a nail in his foot, which is not symbolic at all.The Walking Dead’s ‘Crossed’: The Stage Is Now Set for a Bloody, Deadly Midseason Finale
November 24, 2014
She lost that claim long ago, but her symbolic importance has only grown.128 Years Old and Still a Looker: Happy Birthday to Lady Liberty
October 28, 2014
For them, this is a battle every bit as symbolic and important as the Alamo once was to Americans.In the Battle for Kobani, ISIS Falls Back. But for How Long?
October 20, 2014
Here, perhaps, may be found the symbolic clue to the strife's cause.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Byron was a symbolic figure, but his relations were to the passion of his age and its weariness of passion.
I was a man who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age.
I have said of myself that I was one who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age.
She would meet him at that symbolic bough: there be rendered the Judgment of the Years!Bride of the Mistletoe
James Lane Allen
- of or relating to a symbol or symbols
- serving as a symbol
- characterized by the use of symbols or symbolism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for symbolic
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper