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[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.
Also, especially British, symbolise.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for symbolize
  • They symbolize a people and represent national pride.
  • These treaties represent a great achievement, both for their practical benefits and in what they symbolize.
  • Cut out pictures from magazines that represent or symbolize your essential characteristics and qualities.
  • Not too bad for an animal long thought to symbolize evil.
  • In this performance the inverted bowl is intended to symbolize the vault of heaven.
  • These symbols are important, but they should not take away focus from what they symbolize.
  • The barricades show, he writes, how people choose and symbolize the way they voice their discontent and collective hopes.
  • Another online realm where avatars and personas are created to symbolize personality traits is poker.
  • The images in the cave are mainly cows painted with big udders, apparently to symbolize fertility.
  • Solvers are invited to symbolize the word in each of those eight thematic squares.
British Dictionary definitions for symbolize


(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
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Word Origin and History for symbolize

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
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