A symbol is something that stands for something else. It can be a sound, gesture, or written character that represents an object, action, event, or idea. Vaguely, it is defined as something that stands for something else. Generally, symbols are figurative, meaning that they compare or merge two unlike things. A symbol is the marriage of an abstraction to a concrete expression.

Symbols are also used in comparisons, such as similes, metaphors, and synecdoches. In a way, a symbol is merely a more complicated form of a metaphor.


Some examples are:

  • a heart-shape for love (♥)
    • as in- "I ♥ Hawaii."
  • a smiley face indicating happiness
  • a storm to emphasize the chaos in a story or character's situation
  • a character who stands in for a whole class of people

Related pages

External links

SparkNotes Psychology Glossary

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