Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An object or a representation that functions as a symbol. See Synonyms at sign.
  • n. A distinctive badge, design, or device: trucks marked with the company emblem; the emblem of the air force.
  • n. An allegorical picture usually inscribed with a verse or motto presenting a moral lesson.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A representative symbol, such as a trademark or logo.
  • n. Something which represents a larger whole.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Inlay; inlaid or mosaic work; something ornamental inserted in a surface.
  • n. A visible sign of an idea; an object, or the figure of an object, symbolizing and suggesting another object, or an idea, by natural aptness or by association; a figurative representation; a typical designation; a symbol
  • n. A picture accompanied with a motto, a set of verse, or the like, intended as a moral lesson or meditation.
  • transitive v. To represent by an emblem; to symbolize.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To represent or suggest by an emblem or symbolically; symbolize; emblematize.
  • n. That which is put in or on inlaid work; inlay; inlaid or mosaic work; something ornamental inserted in another body.
  • n. A symbolical design or figure with explanatory writing; a design or an image suggesting some truth or fact; the expression of a thought or idea both in design and in words: as, Quarles's Emblems (a collection of such representations).
  • n. Any object whose predominant quality symbolizes something else, as another quality, condition, state, and the like; the figure of such an object used as a symbol; an allusive figure; a symbol: as, a white robe is an emblem of purity; a balance, of justice; a crown, of royalty.
  • n. An example.
  • n. Synonyms and Emblem, Symbol, Type. Emblem and symbol refer to tangible objects; type may refer also to an act, as when the lifting up of the brazen serpent (Num. xxi. 8, 9) is said to be a type of the crucifixion, the serpent being a type or emblem of Christ. A symbol is generally an emblem which has become recognized or standard among men; a volume proposing new signs of this sort would be called a “book of emblems”; but an emblem may be a symbol, as the bread and wine at the Lord's supper are more often called emblems than symbols of Christ's death. Symbol is by this rule the appropriate word for the conventional signs in mathematics. Emblem is most often used of moral and religious matters, and type chiefly of religious doctrines, institutions, historical facts, etc. Type in its religious application generally points forward to an antitype.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a visible symbol representing an abstract idea
  • n. special design or visual object representing a quality, type, group, etc.

Etymologies

Middle English, pictorial fable, from Latin emblēma, raised ornament, from Greek, embossed design, from emballein, to insert, set in : en-, in; see en-2 + ballein, to throw.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French embleme, from Latin emblema ("raised ornaments on vessels, tessellated work, mosaic"), from Ancient Greek ἔμβλημα (emblema, "an insertion"), from ἔμβάλλειν (emballein, "to put in, to lay on"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Lastly, her emblem is the Sistrum, and the sound of the Sistrum, according to Plutarch, was supposed to terrify and expel Typhon (the evil principle); just as in mediæval times the ringing of church-bells was supposed to scare Beelzebub and his crew.

    A Thousand Miles Up the Nile

  • A school's emblem is featured in the letterhead - and even on the card - and students are urged to activate their accounts quickly.

    Debit cards replacing credit cards on college campuses

  • It may create an impression that the Red Cross emblem is part of the public domain.

    Boing Boing: February 5, 2006 - February 11, 2006 Archives

  • Most of the land masses and the overwhelming majority of the people of the world are in the Northern hemisphere-a fact recognized by the United Nations, whose emblem is a view of the Northern hemisphere seen as if you were looking straight down on it from the stratosphere.

    Africa South of the Sahara

  • The Fascist emblem is a bundle of sticks bound together with an axe extending from the end denoting authority.

    Fascism

  • The Maple Leaf as a land emblem is quite appropriate and correct but as a maritime nation at the present time ours should be the "sponge rampant."

    Imperial Defence

  • A single emblem is a type; the actual rites, incidents, and persons of the Old Testament were appointed types of truths afterwards to be revealed.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • "Navy" about this watch is the emblem from a Italian Naval Academy in Livorno.

    MyLinkVault Newest Links

  • The government today announced that it is changing its emblem from a Union Jack to a CONDOM because it more accurately reflects the government’s political stance.

    2010 February « By Tor's Words Of Wisdom

  • Yeah, I know, CKS rebuilt them, plus the emblem is the symbol for the military and lots of other things as well, but on the city gate?

    5/17 protest a roaring success

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