Hypertext Webster Gateway: "symbol"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Symbol \Sym"bol\, n. [L. symbolus, symbolum, Gr. sy`mbolon a
sign by which one knows or infers a thing, from ? to throw or
put together, to compare; sy`n with + ? 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.

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.

2. (Math.) Any character used to represent a quantity, an
operation, a relation, or an abbreviation.

Note: In crystallography, the symbol of a plane is the
numerical expression which defines its position
relatively to the assumed axes.

3. (Theol.) An abstract or compendium of faith or doctrine; a
creed, or a summary of the articles of religion.

4. [Gr. ? contributions.] That which is thrown into a common
fund; hence, an appointed or accustomed duty. [Obs.]

They do their work in the days of peace . . . and
come to pay their symbol in a war or in a plague.
--Jer. Taylor.

5. Share; allotment. [Obs.]

The persons who are to be judged . . . shall all
appear to receive their symbol. --Jer. Taylor.

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}.

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}.

Syn: Emblem; figure; type. See {Emblem}.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Symbol \Sym"bol\, v. t.
To symbolize. [R.] --Tennyson.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: an arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a
conventional significance
2: something visible that by association or convention
represents something else that is invisible; "the eagle is
a symbol of the United States" [syn: {symbolization}, {symbolisation},
{symbolic representation}]

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