\ ˈī-ˌkän How to pronounce icon (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ikon
plural icons also ikons

Definition of icon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person or thing widely admired especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere a civil rights icon an actor and fashion icon … Purple Rain, the flick that established Prince as a pop icon and cineaste.— Robert Christgau and Carola Dibbell That cultural icon, the Nintendo Game Boy, was released in 1989 …— Eleanor Flegg
2 : emblem, symbol Rosie the Riveter, a WWII [World War II] cultural icon with her blue jumpsuit and red bandana, represented the women who went to work at manufacturing hubs across the nation …— David DeBolt A single photograph, the photograph of Earth taken from space by William Anders, on Apollo 8, in 1968, served as an icon for the entire environmental movement.— Jill Lepore The nation's first President was transformed into an icon, a national symbol whose somewhat forbidding portrait would adorn the dollar bill.— John J. O'Connor
3a : a graphic symbol on a computer display screen that represents an app, an object (such as a file), or a function (such as the command to save)
b : a sign (such as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning
c archaic : a usually pictorial representation : image
4 [Late Greek eikōn, from Greek] in Eastern Orthodox Christianity : a representation (as in a mural, a mosaic, or a painting on wood) of sacred events or especially of a sacred individual (such as Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint) used as an object of veneration or a tool for instruction
variants: or icono-

Definition of icon- (Entry 2 of 2)

: image iconolatry

Synonyms for icon

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of icon in a Sentence

Noun Click on the icon to open your e-mail program. He has become an icon in the movie business. a singer who has become a pop icon The Statue of Liberty has become an American cultural icon.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Disney's first Black princess was inspired by a real New Orleans icon, the late James Beard-award winning Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase's Restaurant. Eve Chen, USA TODAY, 1 July 2022 To showcase the collection, Cartier took over the former British embassy, which is an icon of 1960s-era Brutalist architecture, which the house restored just for this occasion. Town & Country, 29 June 2022 Sarah Jessica Parker's most recognizable role may be the well-heeled Carrie Bradshaw, but the actress is a fashion icon in her own right. ELLE, 23 June 2022 Honestly, Nevermind is also a dedication to the late designer and creative Virgil Abloh, as Drake notes in its official description on streaming platforms, and Drake’s approach to the project surely feels inspired by the Louis Vuitton icon. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, 21 June 2022 But that wasn’t the choice; the desire to do something that had never been done, to borrow a legendary dress only ever worn by a bona fide screen icon, those were the priorities. Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 June 2022 Ahead, find 30 fresh takes on the necklace beloved by many a fashion icon. Aemilia Madden, Vogue, 14 June 2022 The idea was, very similar to Jay Gatsby, Priscilla is a style icon. Todd Plummer, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 June 2022 There is no doubt that Kylie Minogue is a gay icon. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 8 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'icon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of icon


1572, in the meaning defined at sense 3c

History and Etymology for icon


Latin, from Greek eikōn, from eikenai to resemble

Combining form

Greek eikon-, eikono-, from eikon-, eikōn

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Last Updated

11 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Icon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icon. Accessed 21 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for icon


\ ˈī-ˌkän \

Kids Definition of icon

1 : a widely known symbol The Statue of Liberty has become an icon of freedom.
2 : a person who is very successful or admired a pop icon
3 : a religious image usually painted on a small wooden panel
4 : a small picture or symbol on a computer screen that represents a function that the computer can perform

More from Merriam-Webster on icon

Nglish: Translation of icon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of icon for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about icon


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