Proceed with caution: icon ahead

Thursday, 31st July 2014

Iconic. Whatever does it mean?

I’ve seen and heard the adjective applied to everything from a holiday to a burger. Usually, as in the case of a famous building, it means simply that, famous.

Icon, in its original sense, just means image. If I make a painting or a sculpture of you, it’s an icon of you. So something can’t simply be iconic. It has to be iconic of something – as, you might say, the Eiffel tower is an icon of Paris.

Use with caution. Do you mean symbol, emblem, token. . .?

Similarly with graphic, which just means something written or drawn. A graphic picture or graphic account of something is tautological; perhaps you just mean striking, vivid, horrifying. . .?

Bob Ireland

Bob Ireland

Burning ambition? To retire at 50. Bugger! Too late!