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Line breaks: sym|bol¦ic
Pronunciation: /sɪmˈbɒlɪk

Definition of symbolic in English:


1Serving as a symbol: a repeating design symbolic of eternity
More example sentences
  • A stone is also symbolic of eternity, like the cornerstone of a building, placed to last for all time.
  • Perhaps, too, this is symbolic of a psychological disruption as Warhol the man attempts to reclaim himself from Warhol the legend.
  • The exploration and searching of the butterfly may be symbolic of the poet's search for an explanation or a meaning for the death of someone close to him.
1.1Significant purely in terms of what is being represented or implied: the release of the dissident was an important symbolic gesture
More example sentences
  • Their proposal for a nuclear-free zone is a largely symbolic but very significant gesture in the face of terrorist violence.
  • The handshake was a symbolic gesture signifying that intention.
  • Some people have suggested as a symbolic gesture, perhaps, it would be demolished.
meaningful, significant
2Involving the use of symbols or symbolism: Klimt’s symbolic painting of 1900-7
More example sentences
  • A single large, spoked wheel above the train takes the painting into the symbolic realm.
  • "I think that 'The Scream' is one of the best paintings in the world. It is a great symbolic painting."
  • Cotton's highly symbolic paintings make statements about the value of land, Maori land concerns and the impact of colonisation.


mid 17th century: from French symbolique or late Latin symbolicus, from Greek sumbolikos. The adjective symbolical dates from the early 17th century.



Example sentences
  • Locating the action in the dark recesses of Ian's mind, his depraved fantasy-land becomes the symbolical epicentre of mankind's propensity toward evil.
  • The paper's main working hypothesis is that this custom is to be understood in the context of underlying conceptions that fairytales convey in a symbolical guise.
  • The powers of the Parliament, reformed after the 1996 referendum, became largely symbolical while the rule of law was profaned since the main regulating documents were presidential decrees.


Example sentences
  • And there's a link from him to the buffalo and symbolically to my culture.
  • It might be symbolically a good thing to do, but this is not the problem.
  • This symbolically signals the end of the telephone as we used to know it.

Definition of symbolic in:

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