Language and Linguistics

Iconic meaning synonyms antonyms with uses


The meaning of the word ” iconic ” comes from “icon”, it is relative to it and means that something or someone is representative of an institution or group. Although the word “icon” has different meanings, “iconic” is much more specific; highlights an attribute or person and is implemented to a sign that remains related to the meaning.

The Royal Spanish Academy defines “iconic” (a word that it incorporated in 1984) as an adjective belonging to or relating to the icon, this being a representation of it. Meanwhile, it also defines it as something that is said of a sign and that has iconic qualities .

It is even possible to speak of an “iconic language”, which is based on basic signs and defines ways of intermingling them to form understandable icons. Simply put: the signs are the vocabulary, while the way they are combined shapes the language.

This type of language is a visual one, through which with signs it tries to communicate the observable reality, that is, the one that is perceptible to the eye. For example, a sign with a car and a red cross that crosses it, will mean that it is not possible to circulate with a vehicle in that area.

Iconic language

The iconic language is extremely effective, since in a limited space and without the need for words, it expresses its meaning directly and clearly. In addition, when using the image, it entails suggestive experiences for the one who sees them, according to their education, lived experience or feelings . It is part of “non-verbal language”, that is, that which is not expressed in words.

Among the main characteristics of iconic language are: the need to know about what you want to communicate, its signs are not whimsical, they provide sensory information, develop creativity and refer to objects or concrete actions with great ease.

Among the personalities who most thought and worked on the “iconic language” are Charles Morris (who argued that there were different levels of iconicity depending on the appearance between the icon and its referral) or Umberto Eco (who believed that signs should take the most characteristic parts of the referent to express it in a concrete way).


Some words with a similar meaning to “iconic” are “emblematic”, “emblem”, “reference”, “representative”, “characterized”, symbolic “or” distinctive “.


Meanwhile, the words that mean the opposite of “iconic” are “vulgar”, “common”, “ordinary”, “average”, “normal”, “average” or “habitual”.

Examples of use

In the sense of iconic language, these would be signs or posters that are common to see on a daily basis, such as a “no parking” or “exit” sign. However, these are other examples of “iconic” implemented in everyday speech.

  1. – “The Fiat 500 is an iconic car of the Italian industry.”
  2. – “Akira’s creator will adapt the iconic manga to a series.”
  3. – “Britney Spears retakes her iconic look to shoot a new video.”
  4. – “The iconic bust of Tutankhamun is auctioned off and criticism from specialists is raining down.”
  5. – “Lee Iaccocca, creator of the iconic Ford Mustang, has died.”
  6. – “They painted graffiti on the iconic Berlin Wall of Germany.”
  7. – “German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is an iconic Chanel figure.”
  8. – “The theaters on Corrientes Avenue are iconic in the City of Buenos Aires.”
  9. – “The iconic Beatles film,” A Hard Day’s Night “will be played in the cinemas of the town again”.
  10. – “The photos of people sleeping on the street are iconic reproductions of the reality that crosses the country.”

We hope that you have understood the meaning of iconic.

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