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See more synonyms for symbolize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), sym·bol·ized, sym·bol·iz·ing.
  1. to be a symbol of; stand for or represent in the manner of a symbol.
  2. to represent by a symbol or symbols.
  3. to regard or treat as symbolic.
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verb (used without object), sym·bol·ized, sym·bol·iz·ing.
  1. to use symbols.
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Also especially British, sym·bol·ise.

Origin of symbolize

From the New Latin word symbolizāre, dating back to 1580–90. See symbol, -ize
Related formsre·sym·bol·ize, verb, re·sym·bol·ized, re·sym·bol·iz·ing.un·sym·bol·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for symbolize

exemplify, signify, indicate, suggest, mirror, typify, personify, epitomize, embody, mean, illustrate, connote, express, denote, betoken, show, symbol, emblematize

Examples from the Web for symbolize

Contemporary Examples of symbolize

Historical Examples of symbolize

British Dictionary definitions for symbolize



  1. (tr) to serve as or be a symbol of
  2. (tr usually foll by by) to represent by a symbol or symbols
  3. (intr) to use symbols
  4. (tr) to treat or regard as symbolic or figurative
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Derived Formssymbolization or 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

Word Origin and History for symbolize


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper