[ ahy-kon ]
See synonyms for: iconicons on Thesaurus.com

  1. Digital Technology. a picture or symbol that appears on a screen and is used to represent a file, account, application, etc.: Tap the icon to download the app.Click the flag icon at the top of the web page to toggle the language to English.

  2. Eastern Church. a representation of some sacred personage or event, such as Christ or a saint or the Resurrection, painted usually on a wood surface and venerated for its subject.

  1. a person or thing that epitomizes for many people a value, an era, a community, etc: Blue jeans remain an American cultural icon, despite the outsourcing of their manufacture to other countries.

  2. a person or thing that is revered or idolized: Elvis Presley is a cultural icon of the 20th century.

  3. Semiotics. a sign or representation that stands for its object by virtue of a resemblance or analogy to it.

  4. any picture, image, or other representation.

Origin of icon

First recorded in 1565–75; from Latin īcon, from Greek eikṓn “figure, image, likeness”
  • Also i·kon, ei·kon (for defs. 2, 6) .

synonym study For icon

2. See image.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use icon in a sentence

  • It was still booting, and man, those icons creeping across the screen looked good.

    Little Brother | Cory Doctorow
  • They found Klausoff's sister, Maria Ivanovna, an old maid of forty-five, at prayer before the big case of family icons.

  • I remember noticing a sausage kiosk in the markt-platz where a man in a white coat was busily selling hot icons.

    Shandygaff | Christopher Morley
  • In several of the icons (drawings) there are marks of holes in both feet, and in others of holes in the hands only.

  • He died at home as he had wished, only this year, under the icons with a lighted taper in his hands.

    Master and Man | Leo Tolstoy

British Dictionary definitions for icon


/ (ˈaɪkɒn) /

  1. Also: ikon a representation of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint, esp one painted in oil on a wooden panel, depicted in a traditional Byzantine style and venerated in the Eastern Church

  2. an image, picture, representation, etc

  1. a person or thing regarded as a symbol of a belief, nation, community, or cultural movement

  2. a person regarded as a sex symbol or as a symbol of the latest fashion trends

  3. a pictorial representation of a facility available on a computer system, that enables the facility to be activated by means of a screen cursor rather than by a textual instruction

Origin of icon

C16: from Latin, from Greek eikōn image, from eikenai to be like

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

Scientific definitions for icon


[ īkŏn′ ]

  1. In a graphical user interface, a picture on the screen that represents a specific file, directory, window, or program. Clicking on an icon will start the associated program or open the associated file, directory, or window.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for icon


An image used in worship in the Eastern Orthodox Church and among other Christians (see also Christian) of similar traditions. Icons depict Jesus, Mary, and the saints, usually in a severe, symbolic, nonrealistic way.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.