Definition of icon in English:

icon

Line breaks: icon
Pronunciation: /ˈʌɪkɒn
 
, -k(ə)n/

noun

  • 1 (also ikon) A devotional painting of Christ or another holy figure, typically executed on wood and used ceremonially in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches.
    More example sentences
    • The iconoclasts wanted to rid the church of images, icons, even paintings.
    • Many of her paintings are like expressionistic Byzantine icons.
    • Would an Eastern Orthodox priest bless an exhibition of, say, Byzantine icons at a Western museum?
    Synonyms
    image, idol, portrait, likeness, representation, symbol, figure, statue, model
  • 2A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration: this iron-jawed icon of American manhood
    More example sentences
    • America quickly embraced Pluto and Tombaugh as icons worthy of scientific superstardom, and the rest of the world quickly followed suit.
    • An object of derision though she may be to some, to others the celebrity fashion icon is a godsend, for rarely does she also possess a model figure.
    • Movie stars, fashionistas, pop, rock and soul icons and celebs without brains will battle for front seats.
  • 3 Computing A symbol or graphic representation on a screen of a program, option, or window.
    More example sentences
    • It also said that although the sales will come from services such as mobile phone graphics, icons, screen savers and novelty voice mail, it is ringtones that will dominate.
    • The left side of the program window contains icons for each module and you can access any part of the software at any time without having to back out of anything first.
    • Scrolling web-pages, opening icons, moving windows; these are all things which are controlled far more intuitively by your fingers than an input device.
  • 4 Linguistics A sign which has a characteristic in common with the thing it signifies, for example the word snarl pronounced in a snarling way.
    More example sentences
    • Peirce distinguishes three types of sign - the icon, the index and the symbol.
    • An iconic sign/icon (from Greek eikon ‘replica’) provides a visual, auditory or any other perceptual image of the thing it stands for.

Origin

mid 16th century (in the sense 'simile'): via Latin from Greek eikōn 'likeness, image'. Current senses date from the mid 19th century onwards.

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