Definition of symbol noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

        

    symbol

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//ˈsɪmbl//
     
     
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  1. 1 symbol (of something) a person, an object, an event, etc. that represents a more general quality or situation White has always been a symbol of purity in Western cultures. Nelson Mandela became a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle. Thesaurussignindication symptom symbol indicator signalThese are all words for an event, an action, or a fact that shows that something exists, is happening, or may happen in the future.sign an event, action, or fact that shows that something exists, is happening, or may happen in the future:Headaches may be a sign of stress.indication (somewhat formal) a remark or sign that shows that something is happening or what someone is thinking or feeling:They gave no indication as to how the work should be done.sign or indication?An indication often comes in the form of something that someone says; a sign is usually something that happens or something that someone does.symptom a change in your body or mind that shows that you are not healthy; a sign that something exists, especially something bad:A sore throat may be a symptom of an ear infection. The rise in inflation was just one symptom of the poor state of the economy.symbol a person, an object, or an event that represents a more general quality or situation:The dove is a universal symbol of peace.indicator (somewhat formal) a sign that shows you what something is like or how a situation is changing:the economic indicators Healthy skin is an indicator of overall well-being.signal an event, an action, or a fact that shows that something exists, is happening, or may happen in the future:This latest decision is a signal of a major change in policy. Reducing prison sentences would send the wrong signals to criminals.sign or signal?Signal is often used to talk about an event, an action, or a fact that suggests to someone that they should do something. Sign is not usually used in this way:Reducing prison sentences would send the wrong signs to criminals.Patterns a(n) sign/indication/symptom/symbol/indicator/signal of something a(n) sign/indication/symptom/indicator/signal that… a clear sign/indication/symptom/symbol/indicator/signal an obvious sign/indication/symptom/symbol/indicator an early sign/indication/symptom/indicator/signal an outward sign/indication/symbol to give a(n) sign/indication/signal
  2. 2symbol (for something) a sign, number, letter, etc. that has a fixed meaning, especially in science, mathematics, and music What is the chemical symbol for copper? A list of symbols used on the map is given in the index. see also sex symbol, status symbol
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: symbol

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