Symbol

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"Symbology" redirects here. For other uses, see Symbology (disambiguation) and Symbol (disambiguation).
A red octagon symbolizes "stop" even without the word.
Wearing variously colored ribbons is a symbolic action that shows support for certain campaigns.

A symbol is a mark, sign or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences. All communication (and data processing) is achieved through the use of symbols. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a blue line might represent a river. Numerals are symbols for numbers. Alphabetic letters may be symbols for sounds. Personal names are symbols representing individuals. A red rose may symbolize love and compassion. The variable 'x', in a mathematical equation, may symbolize the position of a particle in space.

The academic study of symbols is semiotics. In cartography, an organized collection of symbols forms a legend for a map.