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The Devil's Dictionary:    

Definition of Symbol

  SYMBOL   noun
Something that is supposed to typify or stand for something else.  Many symbols are mere 'survivals' -- things which having no longer any utility continue to exist because we have inherited the tendency to make them; as funereal urns carved on memorial monuments.  They were once real urns holding the ashes of the dead.  We cannot stop making them, but we can give them a name that conceals our helplessness.

Devil's Dictionarydefinition from:
The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce, 1911


Last updated: 9/3/2011 12:48:30