Literary symbol  A symbol is a person, object, image, word, or event that evokes a range of additional meaning beyond and usually more abstract than its literal significance. A literary symbol is a setting, character, action, object, name, or anything else in a work that maintains its literal significance while suggesting other meanings. Such symbols go beyond conventional symbols; they gain their symbolic meaning within the context of a specific story. (See also, contextual symbol, symbol.)

The definitions in this glossary were adapted from The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Sixth Edition, by Michael Meyer