Definition of iconoclasm in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʌɪˈkɒnəklaz(ə)m/


[mass noun]
1The action of attacking or assertively rejecting cherished beliefs and institutions or established values and practices.
Example sentences
  • Elite law schools cherish robust debate, iconoclasm, and arguing issues from all sides, right?
  • Finally, Middle East specialist and translator Fred Reed explores the rise of militant iconoclasm in Syria in his new non-fiction study Shattered Images.
  • Equal parts traditionalism, irony and iconoclasm, thirtysomethings' universe - including work and leisure - gravitates around the home.
2The rejection or destruction of religious images as heretical; the doctrine of iconoclasts.
Example sentences
  • The staff stands for Aaron and his power without mimetically representing him, as the painting seems paradoxically to observe the Hebraic ethos of iconoclasm that the Jewish leader first violated.
  • Though there was iconoclasm at the beginning, as zealots decapitated statues and the like in temples and shrines, this soon passed as sultans cracked down on it.
  • Islamic iconoclasm is rooted in Jewish iconoclasm, historically.


Late 18th century: from iconoclast, on the pattern of pairs such as enthusiast, enthusiasm.

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