verb (used with object), sym·boled, sym·bol·ing or (especially British) sym·bolled, sym·bol·ling.
Origin of symbol
Related Words for symbolsdesign, emblem, figure, pattern, image, token, motif, indication, type, logo, badge, stamp, attribute, mark, note, denotation, representation, device, numeral, regalia
Examples from the Web for symbols
Contemporary Examples of symbols
Dead white people were symbols; dead blacks were statistics, unless white people killed them.The Myth of the Central Park Five
October 19, 2014
They are 'other,' newly visible, and symbols of the social and, by extension, economic changes in society and in New York.Is Brooklyn Becoming Unsafe for Gays? It Depends On Which Ones
October 18, 2014
In some cases, armed groups target teachers and schools because they see them as symbols of the government.Stopping the Small Hands of Slavery
October 13, 2014
But man is a symbol-making creature, so what is he to do but make a plan that makes use of these symbols?Thank Goodness We’ve Got A Plan! Let the War Begin!
September 14, 2014
Rwanda and Ethiopia, symbols in the past of death and mayhem, are now among the fastest-growing economies in the world.How I Got Addicted to Africa (and Wrote a Thriller About It)
September 9, 2014
Historical Examples of symbols
Above his head are the three symbols of the Moon, the Sun, and the planet Venus.The Babylonian Legends of the Creation
But, tonight, he was not seeing these symbols of material superiority.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
Knitted, in her own stitches and her own symbols, it will always be as plain to her as the sun.A Tale of Two Cities
These things we have passed by reverently, as symbols of a people's trust in its kind.
Every alternate page was in the phonetic Indian symbols, of which more hereafter.
verb -bols, -bolling or -bolled or US -bols, -boling or -boled
Word Origin for symbol
early 15c., "creed, summary, religious belief," from Late Latin symbolum "creed, token, mark," from Greek symbolon "token, watchword" (applied c.250 by Cyprian of Carthage to the Apostles' Creed, on the notion of the "mark" that distinguishes Christians from pagans), literally "that which is thrown or cast together," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + bole "a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, beam," from bol-, nominative stem of ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).
The sense evolution in Greek is from "throwing things together" to "contrasting" to "comparing" to "token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine." Hence, "outward sign" of something. The meaning "something which stands for something else" first recorded 1590 (in "Faerie Queene").
Something that represents or suggests something else. Symbols often take the form of words, visual images, or gestures that are used to convey ideas and beliefs. All human cultures use symbols to express the underlying structure of their social systems, to represent ideal cultural characteristics, such as beauty, and to ensure that the culture is passed on to new generations. Symbolic relationships are learned rather than biologically or naturally determined, and each culture has its own symbols.
see status symbol.