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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsymbolicsym‧bol‧ic /sɪmˈbɒlɪk $ -ˈbɑː-/ ●○○ AWL adjective  1 SIGN/SYMBOLa symbolic action is important because of what it represents but may not have any real effectsymbolic gesture/act The protest was a symbolic gesture of anger at official policy.symbolic significance/importance a meeting of symbolic importancepurely/largely symbolic It was a largely symbolic gesture from a government trying to win support.2 representing a particular idea or quality Each element of the ceremony has a symbolic meaning.symbolic of Today’s fighting is symbolic of the chaos which the country is facing.3 using or involving symbols A map is a form of symbolic representation.symbolically /-kli/ adverbCOLLOCATIONSnounsa symbolic gestureThey fired arrows out to sea in a symbolic gesture of defiance.a symbolic actLighting the Olympic flame is a symbolic act.symbolic importance/significanceThe capture of the city was of great symbolic importance.adverbslargely symbolicThe vote was largely symbolic.purely symbolicOur protest was meant to be purely symbolic.
Examples from the Corpus
symbolicThe President's trip to Russia was mostly symbolic.We feel that wearing a red ribbon to support AIDS victims is an important symbolic gesture.Such language suggests that the riots were less about forcing material change than about making symbolic gestures.It was symbolic of the whole thing.There can be little doubt that this was in essence for Mrs Whitehouse a symbolic or political victory.a symbolic paintingWhy would anyone wish to seize the symbolic power in such a hounded institution and risk exposure and persecution?These ten programs contend for a limited number of real and symbolic resources.But meantime the story is rich in symbolic significance for the travails of our age.The album cover, with the father of 12-tone music playing Ping-Pong, is an apt symbolic touch.purely/largely symbolicBecause Westminster retains responsibility for security, the vote was largely symbolic.In fact, the measure has so many exceptions that some Republicans said its value is largely symbolic.Our protest was meant to be purely symbolic.The registry is largely symbolic and confers none of the legal rights and obligations of marriage.But to describe the bill as largely symbolic is not to diminish its importance.The government has made minor cuts on welfare and some changes of a largely symbolic nature.symbolic ofThe low test scores are symbolic of how bad our public schools are.
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