symbolism

1. In psychoanalysis, the process involved in the disguised representation in consciousness of unconscious or repressed contents or events. 2. A mental state in which a person regards everything that happens as symbolic of the person's own thoughts. 3. The description of the emotional life and experiences in abstract terms.

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sym·bol·ism 'sim-bə-.liz-əm n the art or practice of using symbols esp. by investing things with a symbolic meaning or by expressing the invisible or intangible by means of visible or sensuous representations

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n.
(in psychology) the process of representing an object or an idea by something else. Typically an abstract idea is represented by a simpler and more tangible image. Psychoanalytic theorists hold that conscious ideas frequently act as symbols for unconscious thoughts and that this is particularly evident in dreaming, in free association, and in the formation of psychological symptoms. According to this theory, a symptom (such as difficulty in swallowing) might be a symbolic representation of an unconscious idea (such as a fantasy of oral intercourse).
symbolic adj.

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sym·bol·ism (simґbəl-iz-əm) 1. the act or process of representing something by a symbol. 2. in psychoanalytic theory, a mechanism of unconscious thinking characterized by substitution of a symbol for a repressed or threatening impulse or object, which is often of a sexual nature, so as to avoid censorship by the superego.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Symbolism —    Symbolism had a fleeting vogue among aesthetes in European art theatres of the 1890s and is best represented in the work of poet playwright Maurice Maeterlinck (1862 1949). Anton Chekhov (1860 1904) was half heartedly attracted to the quasi… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • symbolism — ► NOUN 1) the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. 2) symbolic meaning attached to material objects. 3) (Symbolism) an artistic and poetic movement or style using symbolic images and indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas,… …   English terms dictionary

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  • symbolism — [sim′bə liz΄əm] n. 1. the representation of things by use of symbols, esp. in art or literature 2. a system of symbols 3. symbolic meaning 4. the theories or practices of a group of symbolists, as in art or literature …   English World dictionary

  • Symbolism — Religious symbolism Buddhist symbolism Christian symbolism Jewish symbolism Solar symbols Hindu Symbolism Jain Symbolism Sikh Symbolism Islamic Symbolism Representationalism United States military chaplain symbols Arts Symbolism (arts) or… …   Wikipedia

  • symbolism — [[t]sɪ̱mbəlɪzəm[/t]] 1) N UNCOUNT Symbolism is the use of symbols in order to represent something. The scene is so rich in symbolism that any explanation risks spoiling the effect. ...a film much praised at the time for its visual symbolism. 2) N …   English dictionary

  • symbolism — sym|bol|ism [ sımbə,lızəm ] noun uncount 1. ) the use of symbols to represent a thing, idea, or quality: political/religious/sexual symbolism 2. ) symbolism of the way in which an action or event is a sign of something more important: The… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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