See more synonyms for iconoclast on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition.
  2. a breaker or destroyer of images, especially those set up for religious veneration.

Origin of iconoclast

1590–1600; < Medieval Latin īconoclastēs < Medieval Greek eikonoklástēs, equivalent to Greek eikono- icono- + -klastēs breaker, equivalent to klas- (variant stem of klân to break) + -tēs agent noun suffix
Related formsi·con·o·clas·tic, adjective

Synonyms for iconoclast

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for iconoclast

Contemporary Examples of iconoclast

  • Concerned and kind, he was also the ultimate risk taker, an iconoclast with an edgy, hard charging quality about him.

    The Daily Beast logo
    They Murdered My Friend

    Sandra McElwaine

    November 17, 2008

Historical Examples of iconoclast

British Dictionary definitions for iconoclast


  1. a person who attacks established or traditional concepts, principles, laws, etc
    1. a destroyer of religious images or sacred objects
    2. an adherent of the heretical movement within the Greek Orthodox Church from 725 to 842 ad, which aimed at the destruction of icons and religious images
Derived Formsiconoclastic, adjectiveiconoclastically, adverb

Word Origin for iconoclast

C16: from Late Latin iconoclastes, from Late Greek eikonoklastes, from eikōn icon + klastēs breaker
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 iconoclast

"breaker or destroyer of images," 1590s, from French iconoclaste and directly from Medieval Latin iconoclastes, from Late Greek eikonoklastes, from eikon (genitive eikonos) "image" + klastes "breaker," from klas- past tense stem of klan "to break" (see clastic). Originally those in the Eastern Church in 8c. and 9c. whose mobs of followers destroyed icons and other religious objects on the grounds that they were idols. Applied to 16c.-17c. Protestants in Netherlands who vandalized former Catholic churches on similar grounds. Extended sense of "one who attacks orthodox beliefs or institutions" is first attested 1842.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper