Pronunciation: (sim'bul), [key]
—n., v., -boled, -bol•ing or (esp. Brit.) -bolled, -bol•ling.
1. something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign.
2. a letter, figure, or other character or mark or a combination of letters or the like used to designate something: the algebraic symbol x; the chemical symbol Au.
3. a word, phrase, image, or the like having a complex of associated meanings and perceived as having inherent value separable from that which is symbolized, as being part of that which is symbolized, and as performing its normal function of standing for or representing that which is symbolized: usually conceived as deriving its meaning chiefly from the structure in which it appears, and generally distinguished from a sign.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.