The notion of symbolic derives from late Latin symbolĭcus, in turn from the Greek symbolikós. It is an adjective that is used to refer to what is linked to symbols.

SymbolicA symbol is an element that allows to represent a idea or one entity through a association or by convention. What is expressed by a symbol and what something symbolizes, in this framework, is referred to as symbolic.

A drawing of a red heart, for example, is a symbolic way of representing or expressing the love. This feeling, in a conventional way, is associated with the heart, which in turn is graphically captured in a specific way. Thus, a certain stroke with a particular color becomes a symbol of love.

The symbolic value of an object, meanwhile, goes beyond the factors proper to the economy and the market. All merchandise has a exchange value (related to their equivalences in the framework of a trading system) and a use value (linked to its usefulness). It can also have a symbolic value that arises from meanings and signs, transcending the practical purpose of the product and its price.

A car made in 1960, to point out one case, today you can have a value very low market due to the age of the vehicle. However, if that car belonged to a famous artist, it has a high symbolic value.

The symbolic, on the other hand, is that which has greater allegorical or figurative importance than practical or concrete. A symbolic hug to a bankrupt club, to indicate a case, implies a manifestation of support or accompaniment to the institution, but it does not by itself modify the underlying problem.