1. an object or its representation, symbolizing a quality, state, class of persons, etc.; symbol: The olive branch is an emblem of peace.
  2. a sign, design, or figure that identifies or represents something: the emblem of a school.
  3. an allegorical picture, often inscribed with a motto supplemental to the visual image with which it forms a single unit of meaning.
  4. Obsolete. an inlaid or tessellated ornament.

verb (used with object)

  1. to represent with an emblem.


  1. a visible object or representation that symbolizes a quality, type, group, etc, esp the concrete symbol of an abstract ideathe dove is an emblem of peace
  2. an allegorical picture containing a moral lesson, often with an explanatory motto or verses, esp one printed in an emblem book

1580s, from French emblème “symbol” (16c.), from Latin emblema “inlaid ornamental work,” from Greek emblema (genitive emblematos) “embossed ornament,” literally “insertion,” from emballein “to insert,” literally “to throw in,” from en “in” (see en- (2)) + ballein “to throw” (see ballistics).

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