Meaning of SYMBOLIC in English


I. (ˈ)sim|bälik, -lēk adjective

Etymology: Late Latin symbolicus, from Greek symbolikos, from symbolon symbol + -ikos -ic

1. : of or relating to a symbol : being a symbol

the symbolic books of a church

a symbolic diagram

barren hills, symbolic of the hardy race reared among them

the spinning wheel was as symbolic of colonial Massachusetts as the codfish — American Guide Series: Massachusetts


a. : using, employing, or exhibiting a symbol : expressed in symbols

symbolic inscriptions

symbolic writers

b. : consisting of a symbol

a symbolic signature

3. often capitalized : of or relating to a lodge of freemasonry (as in the York rite)

symbolic degrees

symbolic lodge


a. : proceeding by means of symbols : substituting abstract representations for concrete objects

symbolic operations

b. : characterized by or terminating in symbols instead of the things symbolized

symbolic thinking

5. : of, relating to, or being a sequence of phonemes occurring in a group of words connected with a common usually vague feature of meaning but not necessarily implying imitation of a sound in nature

in flash, flame, flare, flicker, and flimmer, the symbolic fl- conveys the sense of light in motion

in bounce, pounce, and trounce, -ounce conveys the symbolic sense of rapid movement

— distinguished from onomatopoeic

6. : functioning as a culturally meaningful phenomenon in the life of a people

a dance ritual with symbolic rather than abstract, mimetic, or purely personal importance

II. noun

( -s )

1. : something that is symbolic — usually used with the

the symbolic may lose itself in unintelligibility — John Dewey


[German symbolik, from symbol creed (from Late Latin symbolum ) + -ik -ics, from Greek -ikē, feminine of -ikos -ic]

: symbolics 1

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.