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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a symbol/beacon of hope (=something that makes people have hope)
▪ Mandela was a symbol of hope for his whole country.
potent symbol
▪ a potent symbol of oppression
sex symbol
▪ Hollywood’s newest sex symbol
status symbol
▪ A Rolls Royce is seen as a status symbol.
▪ Counting attaches a different verbal number symbol to a set of units as one unit is added.
▪ The same data are plotted in b but the species are categorised into three different life styles denoted by different symbols.
▪ The second reiterates this in a slightly different language using symbols instead of words.
▪ The key factor, phrase or words bold Use a different colour or symbol to identify each part of your question.
▪ To mark this stressed syllable in the low head we will use a different symbol, as in low.
▪ Amid the dust and noise of hard-hatted workmen, a very different symbol is arising on Pennsylvania Avenue.
▪ The issue became a national symbol of the struggle between development and environment.
▪ The depictions on paper money and coins reinforce national icons and symbols.
▪ Wouldn't losing the pound mean losing an important national symbol?
▪ More than the economic backwardness and resentment at being made into the national symbol of anti-communist resistance is a sense of loss.
▪ This is one reason why the crackling sound of the geiger counter has become such a potent symbol of the dangers.
▪ The jumbo jet is after all one of the most potent symbols of this century.
▪ And surfing is the most potent symbol - even stimulus - of that shift.
▪ For in the Soviet Union nuclear energy is a potent symbol of high technology and modernity.
▪ For the individual, employment may represent the most potent symbol of adult status and integration into the community.
▪ The crucial point is that the very potent symbol of Einstein was not a representation of the theory of relativity.
▪ The spider and its web were potent symbols of Necromundan life.
▪ But I did support Mrs Robinson because although she is only a symbol she is a powerful symbol.
▪ Horses and birds are powerful symbols in our vision of freedom.
▪ The moon was a powerful symbol for him.
▪ Thank you, young man, for reminding me how powerful a symbol those open expanses of tile can be.
▪ Citrine was a powerful symbol of the elevation of workers to a new role in the industry.
▪ A woman priest presiding at the Eucharist is a powerful symbol of this good news.
▪ In the Bible, the heart is a powerful symbol for our inner selves.
▪ But why is law such an apparently powerful symbol for the peace movement?
▪ Shields and helmets, depicted in certain contexts, were also religious symbols.
▪ In Michigan, as in New York, all religious symbols were removed from the classrooms used for such remedial instruction.
▪ Perhaps the religious symbol most strongly associated with the Minoan culture is the double-axe.
▪ And no one is allowed to wear anything that might be interpreted as a religious or political symbol.
▪ Yet little systematic work has been done on such alternative formats, nor on the religious symbols employed by them.
▪ This is the way certain entities come to have meaning as religious symbols.
▪ They often showed scenes from Minoan mythology or religious symbols, which gave the sealing the extra dimension of defence by superstition.
▪ Hanging over her were stars and crosses and circles and more complex designs she recognized as religious symbols.
▪ They are the status symbol of the decade.
▪ Milky white skin was an upper-class status symbol.
▪ A sheepskin coat was the skinhead status symbol.
▪ This is the big mama of grass revenge, a power cutter and a status symbol.
▪ A child's birthday seems to have lost its magic and has just become another consumer oriented status symbol.
▪ New technologies can turn from status symbol to ball and chain overnight.
▪ The cell phone has turned into more than a modern day convenience, it is a status symbol.
▪ The precise choice of material was important, a status symbol almost.
▪ This is one reason why the crackling sound of the geiger counter has become such a potent symbol of the dangers.
▪ The zoot suit became his primary symbol.
▪ Cars, provided by the company, have become the physical symbols of the employees' progress through it.
▪ Projects have become symbols of the ghetto, isolated from society and jobs, overrun by gangs and drugs.
▪ Individual scores became a status symbol.
▪ Christmas 1994 became a symbol for the tensions.
▪ Charles Keating, once a successful Phoenix property developer, has become the bankrupt symbol of the multi-billion dollar savings-and-loan debacle.
▪ Stones become important symbols for Karlin at key points throughout the book.
▪ Patricia Schroeder of Colorado remains a cautionary symbol of the unfair double standard in the let-your-emotions-all-hang-out department.
▪ For the individual, employment may represent the most potent symbol of adult status and integration into the community.
▪ For the Sabaeans these temples represented symbols and mysteries that they never divulged.
▪ A switch turned on could represent the symbol 1; 0 would be a switch that was turned off.
▪ Here a series of characters represented by letters or symbols are presented for comparison, usually arranged in tabular form.
▪ Extrinsic signals representing the inner symbols are what make it possible for groups of humans to share a meaningful world.
▪ For brevity it is worth using these little symbols which are easy to learn.
▪ Possessed himself by a heroic passion, he uses matter as symbols of it.
▪ Terms are constants or are constructed using function symbols.
▪ Pleck notes that socialization through language requires a biological pre-adaptedness for using symbol systems.
▪ The second reiterates this in a slightly different language using symbols instead of words.
▪ But Dalton wrote no chemical equations, though he did use symbols to indicate composition and perhaps even structure.
▪ The fire is used as a symbol of the country's political turmoil.
▪ The required discipline is provided by the attempt to complete a chart such as a flow process chart using the A.S.M.E. symbols.
▪ "H" is the scientific symbol for hydrogen.
▪ For several years Prince used a symbol instead of his name.
▪ Rollins has emerged as a symbol of modern jazz at its finest.
▪ The ancient Egyptians had no symbol for "zero."
▪ The cross is the most important symbol in Christianity.
▪ The dove is a symbol of peace.
▪ The walls were covered with magical symbols.
▪ Back at field headquarters, Hartzog said, field commanders will view symbols that identify different forces on computer screens.
▪ But none could deny that a fine house was a symbol of status and wealth.
▪ Cathy Freeman is the symbol for the millennium Games.
▪ He must start with the explanations and commentaries which his informants themselves offer about their symbols.
▪ Miss Piggy, Kermit and the rest now come across as symbols of a bygone era.
▪ The left half of the symbol identifies the manufacturer; the right half identifies the product.
▪ The trouble was that the old meeting-house had become a symbol of religious and cultural isolation.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Symbol \Sym"bol\ (s[i^]m"b[o^]l), n. [L. symbolus, symbolum, Gr. sy`mbolon a sign by which one knows or infers a thing, from symba`llein to throw or put together, to compare; sy`n with + ba`llein to throw: cf. F. symbole. Cf. Emblem, Parable.]

  1. A visible sign or representation of an idea; anything which suggests an idea or quality, or another thing, as by resemblance or by convention; an emblem; a representation; a type; a figure; as, the lion is the symbol of courage; the lamb is the symbol of meekness or patience.

    A symbol is a sign included in the idea which it represents, e. g., an actual part chosen to represent the whole, or a lower form or species used as the representative of a higher in the same kind.

  2. (Math.) Any character used to represent a quantity, an operation, a relation, or an abbreviation.

    Note: In crystallography, the symbol of a plane is the numerical expression which defines its position relatively to the assumed axes.

  3. (Theol.) An abstract or compendium of faith or doctrine; a creed, or a summary of the articles of religion.

  4. [Gr. ? contributions.] That which is thrown into a common fund; hence, an appointed or accustomed duty. [Obs.]

    They do their work in the days of peace . . . and come to pay their symbol in a war or in a plague.
    --Jer. Taylor.

  5. Share; allotment. [Obs.]

    The persons who are to be judged . . . shall all appear to receive their symbol.
    --Jer. Taylor.

  6. (Chem.) An abbreviation standing for the name of an element and consisting of the initial letter of the Latin or New Latin name, or sometimes of the initial letter with a following one; as, C for carbon, Na for sodium (Natrium), Fe for iron (Ferrum), Sn for tin (Stannum), Sb for antimony (Stibium), etc. See the list of names and symbols under Element.

    Note: In pure and organic chemistry there are symbols not only for the elements, but also for their grouping in formulas, radicals, or residues, as evidenced by their composition, reactions, synthesis, etc. See the diagram of Benzene nucleus, under Benzene.

    Syn: Emblem; figure; type. See Emblem.


Symbol \Sym"bol\, v. t. To symbolize. [R.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 15c., "creed, summary, religious belief," from Late Latin symbolum "creed, token, mark," from Greek symbolon "token, watchword, sign by which one infers; ticket, a permit, license" (the word was applied c.250 by Cyprian of Carthage to the Apostles' Creed, on the notion of the "mark" that distinguishes Christians from pagans), literally "that which is thrown or cast together," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + bole "a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, beam," from bol-, nominative stem of ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).\n

\nThe sense evolution in Greek is from "throwing things together" to "contrasting" to "comparing" to "token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine." Hence, "outward sign" of something. The meaning "something which stands for something else" first recorded 1590 (in "Faerie Queene"). As a written character, 1610s.


n. 1 A character or glyph representing an idea, concept or object. 2 Any object, typically material, which is meant to represent another (usually abstract) even if there is no meaningful relationship. 3 (context linguistics English) A type of noun whereby the form refers to the same entity independently of the context; a symbol arbitrarily denotes a referent. See also icon and index. 4 A summary of a dogmatic statement of faith. 5 Visible traces or impressions, made using a writing device or tool, that are connected together and/or are slightly separated. Sometimes symbols represent objects or events that occupy space or things that are not physical and do not occupy space. 6 (context crystallography English) The numerical expression which defines a plane's position relative to the assumed axis. 7 That which is thrown into a common fund; hence, an appointed or accustomed duty. 8 Share; allotment. vb. To symbolize.

  1. n. an arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance

  2. something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible; "the eagle is a symbol of the United States" [syn: symbolization, symbolisation, symbolic representation]

  3. [also: symbolling, symbolled]

Symbol (choir)

The Symbol is a choir in Romania that links to the great choir of the patriarchy of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Its headquarters are in the basement or the patriarchal palace in the choir room named after the mentor of the choir Nicolae Lungu.

Symbol (disambiguation)

A symbol is something that represents an idea, a process, or a physical entity.

Symbol may also refer to:

Symbol (programming)

A symbol in computer programming is a primitive datatype whose instances have a unique human-readable form. Symbols can be used as identifiers. In some programming languages, they are called atoms.

In the most trivial implementation, they are essentially named integers (e.g. the enumerated type in C).

Symbol (album)

Symbol is a studio album by Japanese electronica artist Susumu Yokota, released in 2005. This album is distinctive from others in his discography by being primarily composed of samples from classical orchestral pieces, such as Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals, as well as more modern compositions by John Cage and Meredith Monk.

Symbol (TV series)

Symbol is a TV series that aired on Disney Channel from 1984 to 1991.

Symbol is a pre-movie show Where Walt Disney himself would talk to animated characters about the movie that is about to be played, then when the conversation was over they would cut to a short film

Category:1980s American television series Category:1990s American television series Category:1984 American television series debuts Category:1991 American television series endings Category:Disney Channel shows


A symbol is a person or a concept that represents, stands for or suggests another idea, visual image, belief, action or material entity. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a blue line might represent a river. Numerals are symbols for numbers. Alphabetic letters may be symbols for sounds. Personal names are symbols representing individuals. A red rose may symbolize love and compassion. The variable 'x', in a mathematical equation, may symbolize the position of a particle in space.

In cartography, an organized collection of symbols forms a legend for a map.

Symbol (chemistry)

In chemistry, a symbol is a code for a chemical element. Chemical symbols are one to three letters long, and are written with only the first letter capitalized.

Chemical symbols often resemble classical Latin and Greek vocabulary. For some elements, this is because the material was known in ancient times, while for others, the name is a more recent invention. For example, "He" is the symbol for helium ( New Latin name, not known in ancient Roman times), "Pb" for lead (plumbum in Latin), and "Hg" for mercury (hydrargyrum in Greek). Some symbols come from other sources, like "W" for tungsten (Wolfram in German, not known in Roman times).

Temporary symbols assigned to newly or not-yet synthesized elements use 3-letter symbols based on their atomic numbers. For example, "Uno" was the temporary symbol for hassium which had the temporary name of unniloctium and "Uuo" is the symbol for ununoctium (temporary name) with the atomic number 118.

Chemical symbols may be modified by the use of prepended superscripts or subscripts to specify a particular isotope of an atom. Additionally, appended superscripts may be used to indicate the ionization or oxidation state of an element. They are widely used in chemistry and they have been officially chosen by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. There are also some historical symbols that are no longer officially used.

Attached subscripts or superscripts specifying a nucleotide or molecule have the following meanings and positions:

  • The nucleon number ( mass number) is shown in the left superscript position (e.g., N). This number defines the specific isotope. Various letters, such as "m" and "f" may also be used here to indicate a nuclear isomer (e.g., Tc). Alternately, the number here can represent a specific spin state (e.g., O). These details can be omitted if not relevant in a certain context.
  • The proton number ( atomic number) may be indicated in the left subscript position (e.g., Gd). The atomic number is redundant to the chemical element, but is sometimes used to emphasize the change of numbers of nucleons in a nuclear reaction.
  • If necessary, a state of ionization or an excited state may be indicated in the right superscript position (e.g., state of ionization Ca).
  • The number of atoms of an element in a molecule or chemical compound is shown in the right subscript position (e.g., N or FeO). Often omitted if the value is one.
  • A radical is indicated by a dot on the right side (e.g., Cl for a neutral chlorine atom). This is often omitted unless relevant to a certain context because it is already knowable from the charge and atomic number information values.

In Chinese, each chemical element has a dedicated character, usually created for the purpose (see Chemical elements in East Asian languages). However, Latin symbols are also used, especially in formulas.

A list of current, dated, as well as proposed and historical signs and symbols is included here with its signification. Also given is each element's atomic number, atomic weight or the atomic mass of the most stable isotope, group and period numbers on the periodic table, and etymology of the symbol.

Symbol (film)

Symbol is a 2009 Japanese film directed by and starring Hitoshi Matsumoto. It was nominated for the Asian Film Awards in the categories of Best Actor and Best Visual Effects. It has not received a U.S. release.

The film was greeted negatively by Japanese audiences; however, it received a surprisingly warmer reaction in the West, despite not being commercialized outside Japan.

Symbol (liturgical theology)

Symbol from Greek language sunbolon that means a seal, signet ring, legal bond or warrant. From sunballein, to throw together, compare. A name used beginning in the fourth or fifth century, in the East and West, for the declaratory creeds, especially the Apostles' Creed, perhaps suggesting the pact made between the baptismal candidate and God, but more probably deriving from the baptismal confession of faith as a sign and symbol of belief in the Triune God.

Symbol (typeface)

Symbol is one of the four standard fonts available on all PostScript-based printers, starting with Apple's original LaserWriter (1985). It contains a complete unaccented Greek alphabet (upper and lower case) and a selection of commonly used mathematical symbols. Insofar as it fits into any standard classification, it is a serif font designed in the style of Times Roman.

Due to its non-standard character set, lack of diacritical characters, and type design inappropriate for continuous text, Symbol cannot easily be used for setting Greek language text, though it has been used for that purpose in the absence of proper Greek fonts. Its primary purpose is to typeset mathematical expressions.

Symbol (formal)

A logical symbol is a fundamental concept in logic, tokens of which may be marks or a configuration of marks which form a particular pattern. Although the term "symbol" in common use refers at some times to the idea being symbolized, and at other times to the marks on a piece of paper or chalkboard which are being used to express that idea; in the formal languages studied in mathematics and logic, the term "symbol" refers to the idea, and the marks are considered to be a token instance of the symbol. In logic, symbols build literal utility to illustrate ideas.

Symbols of a formal language need not be symbols of anything. For instance there are logical constants which do not refer to any idea, but rather serve as a form of punctuation in the language (e.g. parentheses). Symbols of a formal language must be capable of being specified without any reference to any interpretation of them.

A symbol or string of symbols may comprise a well-formed formula if it is consistent with the formation rules of the language.

In a formal system a symbol may be used as a token in formal operations. The set of formal symbols in a formal language is referred to as an alphabet (hence each symbol may be referred to as a "letter")

A formal symbol as used in first-order logic may be a variable (member from a universe of discourse), a constant, a function (mapping to another member of universe) or a predicate (mapping to T/F).

Formal symbols are usually thought of as purely syntactic structures, composed into larger structures using a formal grammar, though sometimes they may be associated with an interpretation or model (a formal semantics).

Symbol (mathematics)

In mathematics, symbol may refer to:

  • Mathematical symbol in mathematical notation
  • Symbol of a differential operator
  • Symbol (formal) symbols from the alphabet of a formal language
  • Symbol ring, a construction of the Witt ring of a number field
  • A term in the Szegő limit theorems

Various specific mathematical functions are referred to as "symbols":

  • Christoffel symbols in differential geometry
  • Néron symbol in arithmetic geometry
  • Pochhammer symbol in combinatorial analysis

In number theory:

  • Symbol (number theory)
  • Artin symbol
  • Contou-Carrère symbol
  • Galois symbol
  • Hilbert symbol
  • Jacobi symbol
  • Kronecker symbol
  • Legendre symbol
  • Mennicke symbol
  • Norm residue symbol
  • Power residue symbol
  • Steinberg symbol
Symbol (number theory)

In number theory, a symbol is any of many different generalizations of the Legendre symbol. This article describes the relations between these various generalizations.

The symbols below are arranged roughly in order of the date they were introduced, which is usually (but not always) in order of increasing generality.

  • Legendre symbol $\left(\frac{a}{p}\right)$ defined for p a prime, a an integer, and takes values 0, 1, or −1.
  • Jacobi symbol $\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)$ defined for b a positive odd integer, a an integer, and takes values 0, 1, or −1. An extension of the Legendre symbol to more general values of n.
  • Kronecker symbol $\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)$ defined for b any integer, a an integer, and takes values 0, 1, or −1. An extension of the Jacobi and Legendre symbols to more general values of b.
  • Power residue symbol $\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)=\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)_m$ is defined for a in some global field containing the mth roots of 1 ( for some m), b a fractional ideal of K built from prime ideals coprime to m. The symbol takes values in the m roots of 1. When m = 2 and the global field is the rationals this is more or less the same as the Jacobi symbol.
  • Hilbert symbol The local Hilbert symbol (a,b) = is defined for a and b in some local field containing the m roots of 1 (for some m) and takes values in the m roots of 1. The power residue symbol can be written in terms of the Hilbert symbol. The global Hilbert symbol $(a,b)_p=\left(\frac{a,b}{p}\right)=\left(\frac{a,b}{p}\right)_m$ is defined for a and b in some global field K, for p a finite or infinite place of K, and is equal to the local Hilbert symbol in the completion of K at the place p.
  • Artin symbol The local Artin symbol or norm residue symbol $\theta_{L/K}(\alpha) = (\alpha,L/K) = \left(\frac{L/K}{\alpha}\right)$ is defined for L a finite extension of the local field K, α an element of K, and takes values in the abelianization of the Galois group Gal(L/K). The global Artin symbol $\psi_{L/K}(\alpha) = (\alpha,L/K) = \left(\frac{L/K}{\alpha}\right)=((L/K)/\alpha)$ is defined for α in a ray class group or idele (class) group of a global field K, and takes values in the abelianization of Gal(L/K) for L an abelian extension of K. When α is in the idele group the symbol is sometimes called a Chevalley symbol or Artin–Chevalley symbol. The local Hilbert symbol of K can be written in terms of the Artin symbol for Kummer extensions L/K, where the roots of unity can be identified with elements of the Galois group.
  • The Frobenius symbol $[(L/K)/P]=\left[\frac{L/K}{P}\right]$ is the same as the Frobenius element of the prime P of the Galois extension L of K.
  • "Chevalley symbol" has several slightly different meanings. It is sometimes used for the Artin symbol for ideles. A variation of this is the Chevalley symbol $\left(\frac{a,\chi}{p}\right)$ for p a prime ideal of K, a an element of K, and χ a homomorphism of the Galois group of K to R/Z. The value of the symbol is then the value of the character χ on the usual Artin symbol.
  • Norm residue symbol This name is for several different closely related symbols, such as the Artin symbol or the Hilbert symbol or Hasse's norm residue symbol. The Hasse norm residue symbol $((\alpha,L/K)/p)=\left(\frac{\alpha,L/K}{p}\right)$ is defined if p is a place of K and α an element of K. It is essentially the same as the local Artin symbol for the localization of K at p. The Hilbert symbol is a special case of it in the case of Kummer extensions.
  • Steinberg symbol (a,b). This is a generalization of the local Hilbert symbol to arbitrary fields F. The numbers a and b are elements of F, and the symbol (a,b) takes values in the second K-group of F.
  • Galois symbol A sort of generalization of the Steinberg symbol to higher algebraic K-theory. It takes a Milnor K-group to an etale cohomology group.

Usage examples of "symbol".

In the context, the last interpretation is the most likely: the text as a whole abounds with alchemical symbols.

These papers, of which there are over 500, are chiefly concerned with sacred geometry and architecture, and cabalistic, Masonic, hermetic and alchemical symbols.

What little currency Alec had seen were crude lozenges of copper or silver, distinguished only by weight and a few crude symbols struck in.

Nysander opened his hand to show Alec a small cube of green stone, incised on each side with tiny symbols.

It was more agreeable to watch the clouds while the horses rested at the end of the furrow, to address, as did Burns, lines to a field-mouse, or to listen to the song of the meadow-lark, than to learn the habits of the three dimensions then known, of points in motion, of lines in intersection, of surfaces in revolution, or to represent the unknown by algebraic instead of poetic symbols.

Vieta in France first applied letters as general symbols of quantity, though the earlier algebraists used them occasionally, chiefly as abbreviations.

Because of this lack of shame in what to humans was an act more secret than prayer, the ancipital race was a symbol of lust.

What a preposterous glut of paper and ink he has amassed, loose leaves and envelopes and journals with spines and notebooks sewn with string, all neatly filled with his blockish, inelegant handwriting, all annotated with symbols in his own private code, signifying such things as further study needed or but is this really true?

I tried to discern which symbols in the writing were the equivalent of Apropos, but quickly gave up.

He drew a pen from his pocket, used it to jot aquick shorthand of symbols and letters on each of the six facesof the Box.

We hold moreover that they communicate their ideas in essentially the same manner as we do--that is to say, by the instrumentality of a code of symbols attached to certain states of mind and material objects, in the first instance arbitrarily, but so persistently, that the presentation of the symbol immediately carries with it the idea which it is intended to convey.

The last fact shows clearly that the higher powers of the mind can attain a high development on the basis of tactual and manipulatory abilities, and that these abilities can serve as the basis of a system of symbols of meanings hardly, if at all, less rich than is commonly developed from the basis of visual, auditory, and articulatory abilities.

The cult of Mithra, less widespread then than it has become since our expedition in Parthia, won me over temporarily by the rigors of its stark asceticism, which drew taut the bowstring of the will, and by its obsession with death, blood, and iron, which elevated the routine harshness of our military lives to the level of a symbol of universal struggle.

Lightning, like all authoritarian Judeo-Christian heresies, had its own share of this typically Occidental straight-line mystique, which was why even the Jews among them, like Zev Hirsch, accepted the symbol first suggested by Atlanta Hope: that most Euclidean of all religious emblems: the Cross.

I went right to it, and all my symbols were there -- circles, triangles, japps, mirks, rhomboids, bews, smims, fouders, hundreds more.