Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 4 19:12:40 UTC 2013

Does anyone else find the following usage of "icon," uttered more than once
today on CNN without elaboration...bizarre?

"Civil rights icon Emmett Till."

Isn't a (human) icon a "celebrity"? A "celebrity" who enjoys being a

How about

1. ?German history icon Heinrich Himmler.

Slightly better, perhaps, but only slightly. It seems to suggest that
Himmler was a big applause-getter and, what's more, we're cool with that
because fame is good.

I haven't checked any dictionaries on this one. CNN's usage - if it isn't
just plain stupid, which it may be - bestows on "icon" the meaning, "person
you must have heard of for some reason."

Or is that already an accepted meaning?

2. ?Exploration icon Christopher Columbus.

3. ?Holocaust icon Ann Frank.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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