1. also i·kon (īkŏn′)
a. An image; a representation.
b. A representation or picture of a sacred or sanctified Christian personage, traditionally used and venerated in the Eastern Church.
2. An important and enduring symbol: "The disposable lighter is an icon of the throwaway mentality that began to take shape in the years following World War II" (Susan Freinkel).
3. One who is the object of great attention and devotion; an idol: "He is ... a pop icon designed and manufactured for the video generation" (Harry F. Waters).
4. Computers A picture on a screen that represents a specific file, directory, window, option, or program.
[Latin īcōn, from Greek eikōn, from eikenai, to be like, seem.]
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Holy Virgin of Smolensk
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.