Thursday, March 05, 2015


Randy from Traverse City was intrigued that the meaning of the word icon went without 
much protest from the sacred to the secular. Icon came from the Greek εἰκον, 
where it meant likeness, image, portrait, semblance, and similitude. Ultimately, 
it tracks back to the verb εἴκειν, to be like.

The word icon is used in the Greek translation of the Book of Genesis where it says, 
"Then God said, let us make man in our image ….” Christian icons began to appear 
early in Church history. Since so many common people were illiterate, icons were 
useful means to represent Biblical events and teachings.

After the word icon was transliterated into English, it went through several meanings.

  1572  An image, figure, or representation.

  1833  Orthodox Church. A representation of some sacred personage, in painting, bas-relief, or mosaic, itself regarded as sacred, and thus honored and revered.

  1952  A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol, esp. of a culture or movement; a person, institution, etc., considered worthy of admiration or respect.

  1982  Computing. A small symbolic picture of a physical object on a computer screen, esp. one that represents a particular option and can be selected to exercise that option.

A quick look through an internet search engine reveals that icon is the name of a light sport aircraft company, the name of a company that makes motorcycle gear, the name of a programming language, the name of a company that makes handcrafted vehicles (including an electric bike), and a global provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. And that’s only page one of the search results!

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Dona Sheehan's prints