Em"blem (?), n. [F. embleme, L. emblema, -atis, that which is put in or on, inlaid work, fr. Gr. a thing put in or on, fr. to throw, lay, put in; in + to throw. See In, and Parable.]
Inlay; inlaid or mosaic work; something ornamental inserted in a surface.
A visible sign of an idea; an object, or the figure of an object, symbolizing and suggesting another object, or an idea, by natural aptness or by association; a figurative representation; a typical designation; a symbol; as, a balance is an emblem of justice; a scepter, the emblem of sovereignty or power; a circle, the emblem of eternity.
"His cicatrice, an emblem
of war, here on his sinister cheek."
A picture accompanied with a motto, a set of verse, or the like, intended as a moral lesson or meditation.
⇒ Writers and artists of the 17th century gave much attention and study to the composition of such emblems, and many collections of them were published.
Syn. -- Sign; symbol; type; device; signal; token. -- Sign, Emblem, Symbol, Type. Sign is the generic word comprehending all significant representations. An emblem is a visible object representing another by a natural suggestion of characteristic qualities, or an habitual and recognized association; as, a circle, having no apparent beginning or end, is an emblem of eternity; a particular flag is the emblem of the country or ship which has adopted it for a sign and with which it is habitually associated. Between emblem and symbol the distinction is slight, and often one may be substituted for the other without impropriety. See Symbol. Thus, a circle is either an emblem or a symbol of eternity; a scepter, either an emblem or a symbol of authority; a lamb, either an emblem or a symbol of meekness. "An emblem is always of something simple; a symbol may be of something complex, as of a transaction . . . In consequence we do not speak of actions emblematic." C. J. Smith. A type is a representative example, or model, exhibiting the qualities common to all individuals of the class to which it belongs; as, the Monitor is a type of a class of war vessels.
© Webster 1913.
Em"blem (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Emblemed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Embleming.]
To represent by an emblem; to symbolize.
Emblemed by the cozening fig tree.
© Webster 1913.