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In the semiotics of the American philosopher C. S. Peirce, a sign that stands for its object mainly by resembling or sharing some features (e.g. shape) with it; such resemblance having a status called iconicity. A photograph or diagram of an object is iconic, but the signs of language (apart from a few onomatopoeic words) have a merely conventional or arbitrary relation to their objects: in Peirce's terminology, they are not icons but symbols. See also index.

Subjects: Literature.

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