Definition of symbolism in English:

symbolism

noun

  • 1The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities:

    ‘he has always believed in the importance of symbolism in garden art’
    • ‘The symbolism was no accident: the film represented a new Germany, reborn and free of suffering on the First World War cross of defeat and humiliation.’
    • ‘And that is the main fault line running through the collection: the stories are too choked with symbolism to achieve their lofty ambitions.’
    • ‘What is most disappointing is that I could tell there were a lot of cultural references and symbolism that I missed as a non-Japanese viewer.’
    • ‘Some questioned the political gain of such self-sacrifice, or of trying to take down a heavily guarded fence in a gesture of dubious symbolism.’
    • ‘Through symbolism, you get your message across.’
    • ‘But in fact, the words, symbolism and ideology were a ruse for grasping and holding onto power.’
    • ‘Like other films from the region, it carries deep-set symbolism and unspoken ideas.’
    • ‘These changes indicate a shift in ritual communication and material symbolism.’
    • ‘This rivalry serves as a subject worth great discussion due to the political symbolism each team represents and the history which divides the collected fans.’
    • ‘While detractors tend to focus on his heavy symbolism and soliloquies, there is nonetheless a more delicate strand to Bergman's work.’
    • ‘I suspect they could cut it down, but I think people like the religious symbolism - I think it helps them believe revival will work.’
    • ‘Although Emily's contemplations can feel overwritten and her symbolism heavy-handed, her engagingly angsty personality draws us in.’
    • ‘But anyone who has ever striven to meet their standards knows they do not sacrifice quality for symbolism's sake.’
    • ‘This is a lot more about symbolism than substance.’
    • ‘It is all symbolism, and scare tactics and vaporizing about the ‘idea of Europe’.’
    • ‘Among the most interesting qualities of this film is the way this symbolism reinforces itself on multiple levels.’
    • ‘Topics include symbolism, dialogue, and the influence of film on reading comics.’
    • ‘The counter-argument is that those who believe this are just taking symbolism to the extreme, and symbols aren't inviolable.’
    • ‘Overflowing with symbolism and ironic dialogue, the film is beautifully washed in grey light.’
    • ‘Several former communist leaders used symbolism, religion, and outright dictatorial tactics to remain in power.’
    1. 1.1 Symbolic meaning attributed to natural objects or facts:
      ‘the old-fashioned symbolism of flowers’
      • ‘We are part of the community and there is a certain amount of symbolism in the event.’
      • ‘The lily has always had strong symbolic value, though its meaning and symbolism have changed through the ages.’
      • ‘The 12 dishes of a traditional banquet are chosen mainly for their symbolism and connotations of luck.’
      • ‘Morrison is right that there have been many gestural attempts to endow some buildings and the institutions that they house with significance through architectural symbolism.’
      • ‘In fact, all symbolism is a type of metaphor since they compare two unlike things.’
      • ‘It was a thousand years from Charlemagne to Napoleon, and yet the implicit symbolism of the Bonaparte's action was unmistakable.’
      • ‘If you want to know what joining the European Union means for a country like the Czech Republic, look at the symbolism of the fact that it took place on May 1.’
      • ‘Here's hoping that there is no deeper symbolism in the fact that the Namibian flag was hanging upside-down outside the High Court yesterday.’
      • ‘Maybe there was symbolism in the fact that he had built her coffin.’
      • ‘The symbolism carved out of flowers, the sun and elements of nature is surprisingly shared across the board of all three artists.’
      • ‘I especially love it when there is no meaningful symbolism and the inclusion of something pivotal was entirely by accident or an after thought.’
      • ‘Well, let me ask you about that, in fact, because the symbolism of marriage is very clear.’
      • ‘They either remained blissfully ignorant about the deep symbolism of these images or deliberately ignored it.’
      • ‘It was a moment of pomp and circumstance, and of great symbolism, tinged with more than a little sadness.’
      • ‘Therefore, if a flag purely represents the symbolism one personally attaches to it, surely it is harmless?’
      • ‘The real significance of the vote is in its symbolism, and the fact it comes at a critical, watershed juncture in the evolution of sentiment toward the euro.’
      • ‘Then there is the giving and receiving of gifts for children which can take on an increased significance and symbolism during the festive season.’
      • ‘I totally agree with Patrice Hall that a symbol loses its symbolism if it tells you what it symbolises.’
      • ‘This tour de force of silver, gold, and enamel, more than three feet tall, is bristling with foliage and flowers and laden with symbolism.’
      • ‘The Mourides have in fact developed a far-reaching symbolism around the various attributes seen within the original photograph.’
      • ‘There is a kind of symbolism in the fact that the quotation comes from a man who also from time to time got into trouble in the town of Ayr.’
  • 2An artistic and poetic movement or style using symbolic images and indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas, emotions, and states of mind. It originated in late 19th-century France and Belgium, with important figures including Mallarmé, Maeterlinck, Verlaine, Rimbaud, and Redon.

    • ‘This pioneering show was not so much a re-evaluation of the artists as a validation of their importance through their contribution to European symbolism.’
    • ‘Throughout his life he read voraciously about the great figures of European romanticism and symbolism.’
    • ‘What was he trying to convey and what was the idea behind this symbolism?’
    • ‘Golding brings emotion, thought, and symbolism together in Lord Of The Flies to tell a story of survival by adaptation and ingenuity.’
    • ‘Other essays touch on matters of style, symbolism and irony.’
    • ‘According to the artist, the painting is full of symbolism.’
    • ‘Highly decorative and extremely personal, Davie's work celebrates colour and form, symbolism and mysticism.’
    • ‘From the first his work was macabre and fantastic, influenced by Goya's Caprichos, the drawings of Beardsley, the eroticism of Rops, and the symbolism of Redon.’
    • ‘More labels spring to mind, formalism and symbolism among them.’
    • ‘And that motif links the poem with the overall symbolism of Swinburne's world where the sea is always considered a last refuge after pain.’
    • ‘His style, derived from observations of both art and life, is a more or less naive, expressionistic symbolism.’
    • ‘There are traces of surrealism, symbolism in his works.’
    • ‘Poetry has been especially impacted: the Dawn-esque symbolism of Yeats informs Ted Hughes, and much Seamus Heaney and John Berryman.’
    • ‘The work employs Alvar's traditional figures and symbolism to convey the message.’
    • ‘And, three, it also introduces a terrific tool for writers and visual artists alike: symbolism.’
    • ‘One of the most important qualities of symbolism within this novel, is the way in which it is so fully integrated into the plot and structure.’
    • ‘Writings were characterized by symbolism, romanticism, and existentialism.’
    • ‘The lyrics veer between poetic symbolism and naked political urgency.’
    • ‘It represents a rustic vision of Jacob wrestling with the Angel, but the real struggle fought out on canvas is between naturalism and symbolism in art.’
    • ‘Various other literary styles, such as symbolism and existentialism, have influenced Slovene writers since the 1960s.’

Pronunciation:

symbolism

/ˈsɪmbəlɪz(ə)m/