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[em-bluh m] /ˈɛm bləm/
an object or its representation, symbolizing a quality, state, class of persons, etc.; symbol:
The olive branch is an emblem of peace.
a sign, design, or figure that identifies or represents something:
the emblem of a school.
an allegorical picture, often inscribed with a motto supplemental to the visual image with which it forms a single unit of meaning.
Obsolete. an inlaid or tessellated ornament.
verb (used with object)
to represent with an emblem.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin emblēma inlaid or mosaic work < Greek émblēma something put on, equivalent to em- em-2 + blêma something thrown or put; compare embállein to throw in or on
1. token, sign, figure, image, device, badge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for emblems
  • The tired emblems of the past--the rainbow flags and leather outfits--retained their relevance there.
  • Back when wine was an elitist beverage, those dusty bottles labeled with geographic descriptors and family emblems made sense.
  • What she cared about was how they could function as emblems of the various beasts within us.
  • Having paid heavily to pump up their images, footwear-makers capitalize on their cachet by emblazoning their emblems on clothing.
British Dictionary definitions for emblems


a visible object or representation that symbolizes a quality, type, group, etc, esp the concrete symbol of an abstract idea: the dove is an emblem of peace
an allegorical picture containing a moral lesson, often with an explanatory motto or verses, esp one printed in an emblem book
Derived Forms
emblematic, emblematical, adjective
emblematically, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin emblēma raised decoration, mosaic, from Greek, literally: something inserted, from emballein to insert, from ballein to throw
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for emblems



1580s, from French emblème "symbol" (16c.), from Latin emblema "inlaid ornamental work," from Greek emblema (genitive emblematos) "embossed ornament," literally "insertion," from emballein "to insert," literally "to throw in," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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