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From Late Latin īconicus, from Ancient Greek εἰκονικός (eikonikós). Equivalent to icon +‎ -ic.


  • IPA(key): /aɪˈkɒnɪk/
  • Rhymes: -ɒnɪk
    • (file)


iconic (comparative more iconic, superlative most iconic)

  1. Relating to, or having the characteristics of, an icon. [from 17th c.]
    Synonym: famous
    Antonym: aniconic
  2. Distinctive, characteristic, indicative of identity.
    Synonym: signature
    an iconic move in martial arts
  3. (figurative) Famously and distinctively representative of its type.
    Synonym: emblematic
    • 1983, J. K. Chambers, Milestones, New York: Beech Tree Books, →ISBN, page 111:
      For younger musicians, Coltrane’s death became one of those iconic events that stays vividly in the mind.
    • 1986, John Updike, Roger's Version, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, →ISBN, page 306:
      She angrily turned, giving me my favorite view, that iconic view of a woman from the rear.
    • 2012 April 29, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Treehouse of Horror III” (season 4, episode 5; originally aired 10/29/1992)”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[1]:
      In time The Simpsons would, indeed, resort to spoofing such decidedly non-spooktacular fare like E.T and Mr. And Mrs. Smith (both in “Treehouse Of Horror XVIII”) but in 1992 the field was wide-open and the show could cherry-pick the most iconic and beloved fright fare of all time.
    • 2020 August 12, Andrew Mourant, “The tide is turning for a Victorian wonder”, in Rail, page 50:
      "We did look at building a new bridge, but this is an iconic structure," says Network Rail Project Manager Michael Bryan.
  4. (linguistics, semiotics) Representing something; symbolic.
    Antonym: batonic
    an iconic gesture in sign language
    • 1955 [1946], Charles William Morris, Signs, Language, and Behavior, G. Braziller, →ISBN, page 23:
      A portrait of a person is to a considerable extent iconic, but is not completely so since the painted canvas does not have the texture of the skin, or the capacities for speech and motion, []




Borrowed from French iconic. By surface analysis, icon +‎ -ic.


iconic m or n (feminine singular iconică, masculine plural iconici, feminine and neuter plural iconice)

  1. iconic