an object or its representation, symbolizing a quality, state, class of persons, etc.; symbol: The olive branch is an emblem of peace.
a sign, design, or figure that identifies or represents something: the emblem of a school.
an allegorical picture, often inscribed with a motto supplemental to the visual image with which it forms a single unit of meaning.
Obsolete. an inlaid or tessellated ornament.

verb (used with object)

to represent with an emblem.

Origin of emblem

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin emblēma inlaid or mosaic work < Greek émblēma something put on, equivalent to em- em-2 + blêma something thrown or put; compare embállein to throw in or on

Synonyms for emblem

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for emblem

Contemporary Examples of emblem

Historical Examples of emblem

  • The plane in which we travelled bore the emblem of the World Patrol.

  • Forever it should be the emblem of crime and disaster beneath its shadow.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • It is as an emblem of remembrance that rosemary is most frequently used by the old poets.


    Benjamin Taylor

  • Burned into his bare flesh was the emblem of their legendary sun-god.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • The worth of the thing signified must vindicate our taste for the emblem.

    Essays, Second Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

British Dictionary definitions for emblem



a visible object or representation that symbolizes a quality, type, group, etc, esp the concrete symbol of an abstract ideathe dove is an emblem of peace
an allegorical picture containing a moral lesson, often with an explanatory motto or verses, esp one printed in an emblem book
Derived Formsemblematic or emblematical, adjectiveemblematically, adverb

Word Origin for emblem

C15: from Latin emblēma raised decoration, mosaic, from Greek, literally: something inserted, from emballein to insert, from ballein to throw
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 emblem

1580s, from French emblème "symbol" (16c.), from Latin emblema "inlaid ornamental work," from Greek emblema (genitive emblematos) "embossed ornament," literally "insertion," from emballein "to insert," literally "to throw in," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper