iconoclast

noun
icon·​o·​clast | \ ī-ˈkä-nə-ˌklast How to pronounce iconoclast (audio) \

Definition of iconoclast

1 : a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions
2 : a person who destroys religious images or opposes their veneration

Other Words from iconoclast

iconoclastic \ (ˌ)ī-​ˌkä-​nə-​ˈkla-​stik How to pronounce iconoclast (audio) \ adjective
iconoclastically \ (ˌ)ī-​ˌkä-​nə-​ˈkla-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce iconoclast (audio) \ adverb

For the Meaning of Iconoclast, Break It Down

Iconoclast is a word that often shows up on vocabulary lists and College Board tests. How will you remember the meaning of this vocabulary-boosting term? If you already know the word icon, you're halfway there. An icon is a picture that represents something. The most common icons today are those little images on our computers and smartphones that represent a program or function, but in the still-recent past, the most common icons were religious images. Icon comes from the Greek eikōn, which is from eikenai, meaning "to resemble." Iconoclast comes to us by way of Medieval Latin from Middle Greek eikonoklastēs, which joins eikōn with a form of the word klan, meaning "to break." Iconoclast literally means "image destroyer."

Examples of iconoclast in a Sentence

notorious as an iconoclast, that music critic isn't afraid to go after sacred cows
Recent Examples on the Web Filmmaker Claire Denis has always been something of a quiet iconoclast in France’s clamorous avant-garde. Erik Morse, Vogue, 9 July 2022 There is, though, the joy and cockeyed logic that only the iconoclast understands and figures out how to use for his benefit. New York Times, 29 June 2022 Binder, an iconoclast unimpressed by Presley’s recent work, had pushed Elvis to reach back into his past to revitalize a career stalled by years of mediocre movies and soundtrack albums. Michael T. Bertrand, The Conversation, 22 June 2022 Where and when to watch: In negotiations, fall/winter 'Moonage Daydream' David Bowie was the ultimate iconoclast, a man who took his unique vocal instrument and used it to reinvent rock music almost album to album. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 5 May 2022 Despite the skepticism radiating from Discovery, Mr. Kilar — who oversaw Mr. Zucker’s exit and has a reputation as an iconoclast — did not consider scrapping the start of CNN+. New York Times, 24 Apr. 2022 Frank Zappa – The Grand Wazoo Rock iconoclast Frank Zappa was drawn to big-band jazz for reasons of circumstance as much as inspiration. Spin Staff, SPIN, 22 Apr. 2022 Juggling motherhood and creative work can leave one feeling like an iconoclast and a failure all at once. Lauren Leblanc, Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Nothing Compares tells the story of O’Connor’s life as a musician, mother, and iconoclast in her own words. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of iconoclast

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for iconoclast

Medieval Latin iconoclastes, from Middle Greek eikonoklastēs, literally, image destroyer, from Greek eikono- + klan to break — more at clast

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Time Traveler for iconoclast

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The first known use of iconoclast was in 1641

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Dictionary Entries Near iconoclast

iconoclasm

iconoclast

iconodule

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

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

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