Sign vs Symbol

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What’s the difference between them?

Sign

Meaning:

A sign is a gesture or action used to convey information, a message, or an idea.

Examples:

1. I need to sign this document before I can submit it.

2. Please sign the guestbook before you leave.

3. The flashing sign warned drivers to slow down.

Symbol

Meaning:

A symbol is a thing that stands for or represents something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.

Examples:

1. The Olympic rings are a symbol of world peace.

2. The eagle is a symbol of freedom.

3. The red rose is a symbol of love.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Sign

1. Symbol

2. Mark

3. Stamp

4. Index

5. Indication

1. Denial

2. Disagreement

3. Refusal

4. Contradiction

5. Non-compliance

Symbol

1. Emblem

2. Sign

3. Token

4. Representation

5. Signature

1. Word

2. Reality

3. Meaning

4. Literal

5. Interpretation

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Sign", "Symbol".

1. Sign is a physical object or gesture that is used to communicate meaning.

2. Signs are usually used to convey information without the need for words or symbols.

3. Symbol is a visual representation of an idea or concept.

4. Remember that a 'sign' is a physical object or gesture that conveys a message.

5. Remember that a 'symbol' is a visual representation of an idea or concept.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

Learn the difference

Frequently asked questions

When should the word 'sign' be used?

The word 'sign' is typically used to refer to a physical object that communicates a message, such as a poster, road sign, billboard, or any other kind of sign. The message communicated by the sign is often a warning, instruction, or advertisement.

When is the appropriate context for using the word 'symbol'?

The word 'symbol' is generally used to refer to something that stands for or represents an idea, object, or feeling. Symbols are often cultural, religious, or historic, and can be objects, sounds, gestures, or words that have a deeper meaning.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, the two words do not share the same pronunciation. The word 'sign' is pronounced /sain/, while symbol is pronounced /simbol/

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One common mistake people make is using the words interchangeably. While 'sign' and 'symbol' can both be used to communicate information, they are distinct from one another. Signs are physical objects that communicate a specific message, while symbols are used to represent a concept. People also sometimes assume that symbols are only cultural in nature, when in fact any object, gesture, sound, or word can serve as a symbol.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. The ______ of peace is usually a dove holding an olive branch.

2. I saw a ______ of the yin-yang on the door of the meditation studio.

3. The red octagon is a universal ______ for Stop.

4. She drew a heart as a ______ of her love for him.

5. The _______ of a handshake is used to greet people in many cultures.

6. The company logo was a combination of a _______ and the name of the business.

1. Symbol

Explanation: A symbol is a representation of something, usually through an object or image. In this case, the dove holding an olive branch is used to represent peace.

2. Symbol

Explanation: Again, a symbol is an object or image used to represent something. In this case, the yin-yang is used to represent balance.

3. Sign

Explanation: A sign is a physical object or image used to convey a message or instruction. The red octagon is a sign used to indicate Stop.

4. Sign

Explanation: A sign is a physical object or image used to convey a message or instruction. The heart is a sign used to represent her love for him.

5. Sign

Explanation: A sign is a physical object or image used to convey a message or instruction. The handshake is a sign used to greet people in many cultures.

6. Symbol

Explanation: A symbol is a representation of something, usually through an object or image. In this case, the company logo is a combination of a symbol (the image) and the name of the business.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.