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

  • n. The practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships.
  • n. A system of symbols or representations.
  • n. A symbolic meaning or representation.
  • n. Revelation or suggestion of intangible conditions or truths by artistic invention.
  • n. The movement, theory, or practice of the late 19th-century Symbolists.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Representation of a concept through symbols or underlying meanings of objects or qualities.
  • n. A combining together of parts or ingredients.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of symbolizing, or the state of being symbolized.
  • n. A system of symbols or representations.
  • n.
  • n. The practice of using symbols, or the system of notation developed thereby.
  • n. A combining together of parts or ingredients.
  • n. The science of creeds; symbolics.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The investing of things with a symbolic meaning or character; the use of symbols.
  • n. Symbolic character.
  • n. An exposition or comparison of symbols or creeds.
  • n. [capitalized] The theories and practice of the Symbolist School. See Symbolist, n., 2.
  • n. An abnormal mental state in which every occurrence is interpreted as a symbol of the subject's own sensations and thoughts.

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

  • n. a system of symbols and symbolic representations
  • n. the practice of investing things with symbolic meaning
  • n. an artistic movement in the late 19th century that tried to express abstract or mystical ideas through the symbolic use of images


Coined between 1645 and 1655 from symbol and -ism. (Wiktionary)



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  • It said that all people who are happy have God within them. And that happiness could be found in a grain of sand from the desert, as the alchemist had said. Because a grain of sand is a moment of creation and the universe has taken millions of years to create it.
    -The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

    July 27, 2009