verb (used with object), sym·bol·ized, sym·bol·iz·ing.

to be a symbol of; stand for or represent in the manner of a symbol.
to represent by a symbol or symbols.
to regard or treat as symbolic.

verb (used without object), sym·bol·ized, sym·bol·iz·ing.

to use symbols.

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

Examples from the Web for symbolizing

Contemporary Examples of symbolizing

Historical Examples of symbolizing

  • In China, he is often represented with a mace (symbolizing a thunderbolt) instead of a sword.

  • The scene may be interpreted as symbolizing the grief of a mother for a dead son.

  • Action only to give reader the tone, symbolizing the tone of the people.


    Ezra Pound

  • Whence, then, came the illusion that symbolizing of the idea was a novelty?

    The Book of Masks

    Remy de Gourmont

  • We see the wheel of Ezekiel symbolizing the whole scheme and fabric of Nature.

    Ghosts I Have Seen

    Violet Tweedale

British Dictionary definitions for symbolizing




(tr) to serve as or be a symbol of
(tr usually foll by by) to represent by a symbol or symbols
(intr) to use symbols
(tr) to treat or regard as symbolic or figurative
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 symbolizing



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper