- Enter a word for the dictionary definition.
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
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. [1913 Webster] 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. --Coleridge. [1913 Webster] 2. (Math.) Any character used to represent a quantity, an operation, a relation, or an abbreviation. [1913 Webster] Note: In crystallography, the symbol of a plane is the numerical expression which defines its position relatively to the assumed axes. [1913 Webster] 3. (Theol.) An abstract or compendium of faith or doctrine; a creed, or a summary of the articles of religion. [1913 Webster] 4. [Gr. ? contributions.] That which is thrown into a common fund; hence, an appointed or accustomed duty. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] They do their work in the days of peace . . . and come to pay their symbol in a war or in a plague. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] 5. Share; allotment. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The persons who are to be judged . . . shall all appear to receive their symbol. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster] Syn: Emblem; figure; type. See Emblem. [1913 Webster]