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See also: iĉon, Icon, and ICON


A religious icon
A GUI icon representing deleted items

Alternative forms[edit]

  • eikon, ikon (only in sense of religious image)


From Latin īcōn, from Ancient Greek εἰκών (eikṓn, likeness, image, portrait). Eastern Orthodox Church sense is attested from 1833. Computing sense first recorded in 1982.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈaɪ.kɒn/, /ˈaɪ.kən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈaɪ.kɑːn/
    • (file)


icon (plural icons)

  1. An image, symbol, picture, or other representation usually as an object of religious devotion.
    Synonyms: idol, (pejorative) graven image
  2. (religion, especially Eastern Christianity) A type of religious painting portraying a saint or scene from Scripture, often done on wooden panels.
    • 1986 December 22, “‘Weeping Virgin’ Icon Draws Throngs To Chicago”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Last week the Archdiocese sent emmissaries to investigate the icon and decided that the tears were not a hoax, Father Koufos said.
  3. (by extension) A person or thing that is the best example of a certain profession or some doing.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:exemplar, Thesaurus:model
    That man is an icon in the business; he personifies loyalty and good business sense.
    • 1981 May 31, Robert Palmer, “Two Icons of Rock Music”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Only a handful of rock musicians have become genuine icons - larger-than-life symbolic figures whose personal triumphs and vicissitudes seem to mirror the ups and downs of rock as a whole, and sometimes of the society that nurtures it. Often, rock icons become the objects of personality cults that tend to overshadow their musical accomplishments.
    • 1987 December 23, “Barbie: Doll, Icon Or Sexist Symbol?”, in The New York Times[3], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Barbie is viewed as an icon of American culture in her new biography, Barbie: Her Life and Times (Crown, $25), written by Billy Boy, a clothing and jewelry designer in Paris.
  4. (graphical user interface) A small picture that represents something.
    Click the loudspeaker icon to configure audio settings.
    • 1985 September 15, Erik Snadberg-Diment, “Number Crunching on the Macintosh”, in The New York Times[4], ISSN 0362-4331:
      The program's most quintessentially Macintoshian feature, one as yet unique among spreadsheets, is its icon bar, which resides at the top of the screen just below the standard menu bar. It contains 21 icons, each of which allows the user to perform a specified function with but a few clicks of the mouse.
  5. (linguistics, semiotics) A word, character, or sign whose form reflects and is determined by the referent; onomatopoeic words are necessarily all icons.
    Coordinate terms: symbol, index.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading[edit]




From Ancient Greek εἰκών (eikṓn, likeness, image, portrait).



īcōn f (genitive īconis); third declension

  1. an image
  2. (later Latin): icon (religious painting)


Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative īcōn īconēs
Genitive īconis īconum
Dative īconī īconibus
Accusative īconem īconēs
Ablative īcone īconibus
Vocative īcōn īconēs

Related terms[edit]


  • icon in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • icon in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • icon in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • icon in Ramminger, Johann (accessed 16 July 2016) Neulateinische Wortliste: Ein Wörterbuch des Lateinischen von Petrarca bis 1700[5], pre-publication website, 2005-2016