When one thing represents something else that's more abstract, it is symbolic, like a cowboy's black hat in western films is symbolic of his sinister intentions.
Images and designs on flags are often symbolic of something about a country, for instance, New Zealand's flag shows four stars that are symbolic of the constellation Crux. We're not sure exactly where the word symbolic came from, because several languages have similar words with similar meanings. The word could have come from the French symbolique, the Latin symbolicus, or the Greek sumbolikos.
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