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

  • n. An image; a representation.
  • n. A representation or picture of a sacred or sanctified Christian personage, traditionally used and venerated in the Eastern Church.
  • n. An important and enduring symbol: "Voyager will take its place ... alongside such icons of airborne adventure as The Spirit of St. Louis and [the] Bell X-1” ( William D. Marbach).
  • n. One who is the object of great attention and devotion; an idol: "He is ... a pop icon designed and manufactured for the video generation” ( Harry F. Waters).
  • n. Computer Science A picture on a screen that represents a specific file, directory, window, option, or program.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An image, symbol, picture, or other representation usually as an object of religious devotion.
  • n. A religious painting, often done on wooden panels.
  • n. A person or thing that is the best example of a certain profession or some doing.
  • n. A small picture which represents something (such as an icon on a computer screen which when clicked performs some function.)
  • n. A type of noun whereby the form reflects and is determined by the referent; onomatopoeic words are necessarily all icons. See also symbol and index.
  • n. Pictual representations of files, programs and folders on a computer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An image or representation; a portrait or pretended portrait.
  • n. A sacred picture representing the Virgin Mary, Christ, a saint, or a martyr, and having the same function as an image of such a person in the Latin Church. The term is used especially for a highly stylized and conventionalized representation of a holy person, rich in symbolism and used in devotional services in many of the eastern Orthodox churches, especially the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches.
  • n. a symbol, especially a symbol whose form suggests its meaning or the object it represents.
  • n. a graphical symbol for a data object whose form suggests the nature or function of the object; especially, such a symbol as viewed on the computer screen.
  • n. any object of uncritical devotion.
  • n. an outstanding example of something which has come to represent the class of things to which it belongs; a paragon; used of persons as well as objects.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An image or representation; a portrait.
  • n. In the Greek or Orthodox Eastern Church, a representation of Christ, an angel, or a saint, in painting, relief, mosaic. etc.
  • n. In logic, a sign or representation which stands for its object by virtue of a resemblance or analogy to it.
  • n. In scientific books, specifically, a plate, an engraving, or other printed representation.
  • n. An abbreviation of iconographic; of iconography.

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

  • n. a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface
  • n. (computer science) a graphic symbol (usually a simple picture) that denotes a program or a command or a data file or a concept in a graphical user interface
  • n. a conventional religious painting in oil on a small wooden panel; venerated in the Eastern Church


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

From Greek eikōn, from eikenai, to be like, seem.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin icon, from Ancient Greek εἰκών (eikōn, "likeness, image, portrait"). Eastern Orthodox Church sense is attested from 1833. Computing sense first recorded in 1982.



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  • When Jake leaped, his trajectory made an arc that framed Grainer for me in weird vividness. He was still on his knees, propped up by the javelin, arms hanging inert, eyes half-closed, a thickened gobbet of dark blood hanging from his open mouth. The image had the remote clarity of a religious icon. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 30, 2012

  • a 'connexion' to a program

    October 23, 2010