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90s Slang You Should Know


[sim-buh-lahyz] /ˈsɪm bəˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), symbolized, symbolizing.
to be a symbol of; stand for or represent in the manner of a symbol.
to represent by a symbol or symbols.
to regard or treat as symbolic.
verb (used without object), symbolized, symbolizing.
to use symbols.
Also, especially British, symbolise.
Origin of symbolize
From the New Latin word symbolizāre, dating back to 1580-90. See symbol, -ize
Related forms
resymbolize, verb, resymbolized, resymbolizing.
unsymbolized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for symbolise
Historical Examples
  • They too are concerned with the Ideas, and symbolise the inner reality of outward things and events.

    Schopenhauer Margrieta Beer
  • What it symbolised, if symbolise anything it did, we know not.

    Evolution in Art Alfred C. Haddon
  • Two did, each of them filling one of the lower corners, symbolise duration.

  • They symbolise, they stand in place of, the primitive image.

    Evolution in Art Alfred C. Haddon
  • It is probably the lady-friend of this ferocious quadruped which Dr. Kuyper has chosen to symbolise the people of the Transvaal.

    Boer Politics Yves Guyot
  • They are popularly supposed to symbolise the fate that overtook Marin Faliero.

    Venice and its Story Thomas Okey
  • To symbolise them, they were as a sword-blade lying beside book.

  • My Struldbrugs are meant to symbolise the immortality of genius.

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • Did not Galatea symbolise all the sleeping beauty of the world that was to awaken warm and fragrant at the kiss of our youth?

    Prose Fancies Richard Le Gallienne
  • How, then, did the oak come to symbolise a god equated with Zeus.

British Dictionary definitions for symbolise


(transitive) to serve as or be a symbol of
(transitive) usually foll by by. to represent by a symbol or symbols
(intransitive) to use symbols
(transitive) to treat or regard as symbolic or figurative
Derived Forms
symbolization, symbolisation, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for symbolise



c.1600, "to represent by a symbol," also "to be a symbol of," from French symboliser, from Modern Latin symbolizare, from symbolum (see symbol). Related: Symbolized; symbolizes; symbolizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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