- the practice of representing things by symbols, or of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character.
- a set or system of symbols.
- symbolic meaning or character.
- the principles and practice of symbolists in art or literature.
- (initial capital letter) a movement of the late 19th century in French art and literature.Compare symbolist(defs 3b, 4b).
- the use of any of certain special figures or marks of identification to signify a religious message or divine being, as the cross for Christ and the Christian faith.
Origin of symbolism
Examples from the Web for symbolism
The fact that he was celebrating another loss for the star-crossed city of Detroit only enhances the symbolism.Will Chris Christie Regret His Cowboy Hug?
January 5, 2015
But what he did was reasonably brave and freighted with all the symbolism of which he was well aware.Steve Scalise and the Right’s Ridiculous Racial Blame Game
January 2, 2015
The exhibition also provides useful insight into the importance of symbolism, particularly when it comes to religious painting.The Virgin Mary Lookbook
December 7, 2014
The move gets an “A” for symbolism and a “D” for everything else.Sony Blames North Korea for Hacking, but Washington Left Them Completely Vulnerable
Gordon G. Chang
December 3, 2014
Some critics complained that his symbolism was obscure and was lost on the audience.Was the Unabomber a Eugene O’Neill Fan?
Robert M. Dowling
November 6, 2014
"Give Mrs. Bowlder my regards," said the journalist, comprehending the symbolism.The Gentleman From Indiana
It would have been better if you hadn't ventured on symbolism.Erdgeist (Earth-Spirit)
The Children of Light could see the symbolism quick as a wink.The Prisoner
But only as inseparable from the Symbolism, the under-tow, of his imagination.Holbein
He must be a dullard indeed who fails to understand their symbolism.The Book-Hunter at Home
P. B. M. Allan
- the representation of something in symbolic form or the attribution of symbolic meaning or character to something
- a system of symbols or symbolic representation
- a symbolic significance or quality
- (often capital) a late 19th-century movement in art that sought to express mystical or abstract ideas through the symbolic use of imagesSee also synthetism
- theol any symbolist interpretation of the Eucharist
Word Origin and History for symbolism
1650s, "practice of representing things with symbols," from symbol + -ism. Attested from 1892 as a movement in French literature that aimed at representing ideas and emotions by indirect suggestion rather than direct expression; rejecting realism and naturalism, it attached symbolic meaning to certain objects, words, etc. French symboliste was coined by poet Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) in 1885.
- A mental state in which everything that happens is regarded by the individual as symbolic of his or her own thoughts.
- The disguised representation in conscious thought of unconscious or repressed contents or events.