From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The Calvinist Iconoclastic Riot of August 20, 1566


Borrowed from French iconoclaste, from Byzantine Greek εἰκονοκλάστης (eikonoklástēs, literally image breaker). By surface analysis, icon +‎ -clast.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /aɪˈkɒn.əˌklæst/
  • (US) IPA(key): /aɪˈkɑn.əˌklæst/
    • (file)
  • (file)


iconoclast (plural iconoclasts)

  1. (historical, Christianity) One who destroys religious images or icons, especially an opponent of the Orthodox Church in the 8th and 9th centuries, or a Puritan during the European Reformation.
    Antonym: iconodule
    • 2004, Eugene TeSelle, World Book Encyclopedia, 2004 edition (CD), Iconoclast:
      In the days of the early Christian church, people who opposed the veneration (reverence) of images were called iconoclasts.
  2. One who opposes orthodoxy and religion; one who adheres to the doctrine of iconoclasm.
    • 2010 The Handbook of Texas Online, William Cowper Brann, Texas State Historical Association, Austin [1]:
      In February 1895 he [William Cowper Brann, 1855-1898 ] revived publication of the Iconoclast. This time it was successful and eventually attained a circulation of 100,000. Brann took obvious relish in directing his stinging attacks upon institutions and persons he considered to be hypocritical or overly sanctimonious.
  3. (by extension) One who attacks cherished beliefs; a maverick.
    • 2007 November 29, Megan McArdle, “Ugly questions”, in The Atlantic[2]:
      After all, the fact that any discussion of the possibility is greeted with hysterical revulsion guarantees that only two types of people will take the "pro" side in public: fearless iconoclasts who do not care what anyone thinks of them; and racists.
    • 2016 April 21, Spencer Kornhaber, “Prince the Immortal”, in The Atlantic[3]:
      Coming so soon after the death of David Bowie, it’s a moment to consider how deeply important iconoclasts are to the evolution of a culture. Do they change the world by trying to change it, or do they change the world through the radical act of simply being themselves?
    • 2020 February 28, George Johnson, “Freeman Dyson, Math Genius Turned Technological Visionary, Dies at 96”, in The New York Times[4], →ISSN:
      Relishing the role of iconoclast, he confounded the scientific establishment by dismissing the consensus about the perils of man-made climate change as “tribal group-thinking.”

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]



Borrowed from French iconoclaste.


iconoclast m (plural iconoclaști, feminine equivalent iconoclastă)

  1. iconoclast