1. A distinctive badge, design, or device: trucks marked with the company emblem; the emblem of the air force.
2. An object or representation that functions as a symbol: "a bed of sweet-scented lilies, the emblem of France" (Amy Steedman).
3. An allegorical picture usually inscribed with a verse or motto presenting a moral lesson.
[Middle English, pictorial fable, from Latin emblēma, raised ornament, from Greek, embossed design, from emballein, to insert, set in : en-, in; see EN-2 + ballein, to throw; see gwelə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)emblem
emblem of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.