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Pronunciation: sim'bol


  1. A conventional sign serving as an abbreviation.
  2. In chemistry, an abbreviation of the name of an element, radical, or compound, expressing in chemical formulas one atom or molecule of that element (H and O in H2O); in biochemistry, an abbreviation of trivial names of molecules used primarily in combination with other similar symbols to construct larger assemblies (Gly for glycine, Ado for adenosine, Glc for glucose).
  3. In psychoanalysis, an object or action that is interpreted to represent some repressed or unconscious desire, often sexual.
  4. A philosophical-linguistic sign.

[G. symbolon, a mark or sign, fr. sym-ballo, to throw together]

See Also: conventional signs, under sign

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