Meaning of SYMBOL in English


a communication element intended to simply represent or stand for a complex of person, object, group, or idea. Symbols may be presented graphically, as in the cross for Christianity, the red cross or crescent for the life-preserving agencies of Christian and Islamic countries; representationally, as in the human figures Marianne, John Bull, and Uncle Sam standing for France, England, and the United States respectively; they may involve letters, as in K for the chemical element potassium; or they may be assigned arbitrarily, as in the mathematical symbol for infinity or the symbol $ for dollar. In various philosophical contexts and particularly in semiotics, a branch of metalogic, very precise distinctions are made between symbol and sign. See also sign.

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.