Adjective "symbolic" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Serving as a symbol.
  1. 'It is symbolic of loneliness, but also safety and guidance.'
  2. 'The flag is symbolic of the Democracy in which we are lucky enough to live.'
  3. 'This seems to be symbolic of the many recent developments which simply do not belong in the community.'
  4. 'The world's most famous steam locomotive is symbolic of British industry, innovation and engineering.'
  5. 'To me this is symbolic of the effect of the book - shedding light on what otherwise might be passed by unnoticed.'
  6. 'A building can be symbolic of power, but it can also be a folly.'
  7. 'A stone is also symbolic of eternity, like the cornerstone of a building, placed to last for all time.'
  8. 'They feel this is symbolic of the problems we face in the nation.'
  9. 'The destruction of both wall and statue is symbolic of breaking free from oppression, and the elation on the faces of the people was the same.'
  10. 'The city has today become symbolic of the systematic and sustained devaluation of the dignity of women.'
  11. 'the release of the dissident was an important symbolic gesture'
  12. 'In measuring that weakness, his sexual misbehaviour is more symbolic than significant.'
  13. 'The process of disarmament thus assumes a purely symbolic character.'
  14. 'Now, the loss of Spain is more politically symbolic than militarily significant.'
  15. 'The apology for slavery is important in symbolic terms only, especially given the crisis in Liberia.'
  16. 'All the while, the world makes symbolic gestures of concern and assistance.'
  17. 'And never mind that the summit may turn out to be a purely symbolic event.'
  18. 'In such a circumstance the label under which punishment is imposed would appear to be purely symbolic.'
  19. 'To date, their achievements have been purely symbolic or legislative rather than financial.'
  20. 'Their proposal for a nuclear-free zone is a largely symbolic but very significant gesture in the face of terrorist violence.'
  21. 'But as well as the bread and butter issues, there is a significant symbolic loss for republicans.'
Involving the use of symbols or symbolism.
  1. 'Cotton's highly symbolic paintings make statements about the value of land, Maori land concerns and the impact of colonisation.'
  2. 'If one were to judge Watts on his late, symbolic work, one might give him low marks for technique, anatomy and draughtsmanship.'


1. serving as a symbol of something (often followed by of).

2. of, relating to, or expressed by a symbol.

3. characterized by or involving the use of symbols: a highly symbolic poem.

4. (in semantics, especially formerly) pertaining to a class of words that express only relations.Compare notional (def 7).

5. Computers. expressed in characters, usually nonnumeric, that require translation before they can be used (opposed to absolute).

More examples(as adjective)

"measures can be symbolic at points."

"joggers can be symbolic of violences."

"joggers can be symbolic of tensions."

"words can be symbolic of confusions."

"traditions can be symbolic of presences."

More examples++


Mid 17th century: from French symbolique or late Latin symbolicus, from Greek sumbolikos. The adjective symbolical dates from the early 17th century.