from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A distinctive badge, design, or device.
  • noun An object or representation that functions as a symbol.
  • noun An allegorical picture usually inscribed with a verse or motto presenting a moral lesson.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To represent or suggest by an emblem or symbolically; symbolize; emblematize.
  • noun That which is put in or on inlaid work; inlay; inlaid or mosaic work; something ornamental inserted in another body.
  • noun 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).
  • noun 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.
  • noun An example.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb rare To represent by an emblem; to symbolize.
  • noun obsolete Inlay; inlaid or mosaic work; something ornamental inserted in a surface.
  • noun 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
  • noun A picture accompanied with a motto, a set of verse, or the like, intended as a moral lesson or meditation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Middle English, pictorial fable, from Latin emblēma, raised ornament, from Greek, embossed design, from emballein, to insert, set in : en-, in; see en– + ballein, to throw; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").


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