Denotation vs. Connotation


or (especially British) symbolise

[sim-buh-lahyz] /ˈsɪm bəˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), symbolized, symbolizing.
to be a symbol of; stand for or represent in the manner of a symbol.
to represent by a symbol or symbols.
to regard or treat as symbolic.
verb (used without object), symbolized, symbolizing.
to use symbols.
Origin of symbolize
1580-90; < New Latin symbolizāre. See symbol, -ize
Related forms
resymbolize, verb, resymbolized, resymbolizing.
unsymbolized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for symbolise
Historical Examples
  • They too are concerned with the Ideas, and symbolise the inner reality of outward things and events.

    Schopenhauer Margrieta Beer
  • What it symbolised, if symbolise anything it did, we know not.

    Evolution in Art Alfred C. Haddon
  • Two did, each of them filling one of the lower corners, symbolise duration.

  • They symbolise, they stand in place of, the primitive image.

    Evolution in Art Alfred C. Haddon
  • It is probably the lady-friend of this ferocious quadruped which Dr. Kuyper has chosen to symbolise the people of the Transvaal.

    Boer Politics Yves Guyot
  • They are popularly supposed to symbolise the fate that overtook Marin Faliero.

    Venice and its Story Thomas Okey
  • To symbolise them, they were as a sword-blade lying beside book.

  • My Struldbrugs are meant to symbolise the immortality of genius.

    Unicorns James Huneker
  • Did not Galatea symbolise all the sleeping beauty of the world that was to awaken warm and fragrant at the kiss of our youth?

    Prose Fancies Richard Le Gallienne
  • How, then, did the oak come to symbolise a god equated with Zeus.

British Dictionary definitions for symbolise


(transitive) to serve as or be a symbol of
(transitive) usually foll by by. to represent by a symbol or symbols
(intransitive) to use symbols
(transitive) to treat or regard as symbolic or figurative
Derived Forms
symbolization, symbolisation, noun
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for symbolise



c.1600, "to represent by a symbol," also "to be a symbol of," from French symboliser, from Modern Latin symbolizare, from symbolum (see symbol). Related: Symbolized; symbolizes; symbolizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for symbolize

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for symbolise

Scrabble Words With Friends