Symbol vs. Cymbal – Meaning, Homophones and Spelling

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Do musicians use cymbals or symbols? Alternatively, is a rune a symbol or a cymbal? All good questions and common ones because these two homophones sound exactly the same, making them easy to get mixed up. But I’ll explain the definition of both and show you how to use each one.

Symbol vs. Cymbal: What’s the Difference?

Symbol vs. Cymbal Meaning Homophones Spelling 1

Because they sound the same when spoken, you only have to worry about spelling them correctly. So, if you’re writing about a sign, a special marking, or a rune, you’d use the word “symbol.”

But if you were writing about the musical instrument that drummers use, then you’d use “cymbal.” It’s a flat, metal disc that makes sharp ringing sounds when you tap it with a drumstick. Some musicians use a brush of some kind to create a softer sound. The word is derived from the Greek word kumbalon, meaning cup or bowl.

How to Spell Symbol

To prevent any confusion, I’ll tell you how to spell both homophones. It’s s-y-m-b-o-l for a sign or object and c-y-m-b-a-l for a musical instrument. After reading their definitions, you can see just how important it is to get them straight because they’re clearly not interchangeable.

Symbol and Cymbal Pronunciation

Both words “symbol” and “cymbal” are pronounced the same and sound like sim-bl.

Synonyms for Symbol

There are a ton of different words that could mean the same thing as “symbol,” so try one of these instead.

  • Emblem.
  • Sign.
  • Rune.
  • Representation.
  • Icon.
  • Badge.
  • Token.
  • Figure.
  • Mark.

Symbol Examples in a Sentence

Symbol vs. Cymbal Meaning Homophones Spelling
  • Did you know the peace sign is an ancient symbol of harmony and non-violence?
  • Taylor Swift is a symbol for all young girls that you can be brave, smart, and talented.
  • The three little stars between scenes are called a scene break symbol in publishing.
  • Egyptian symbols found in stones are called hieroglyphs.
  • Holding your index finger over your lips is a symbol of silence. 
  • The chemical symbol for water is H2O.
  • An example of a currency symbol would be the dollar sign. 
  • The simple Canadian flag is a symbol of unity and freedom for the people of our country.
  • A red octagon is a universal symbol for stop, no matter what country you’re in.
  • The beautiful dove bird is a universal symbol of peace and purity that most people recognize.

Cymbal Examples in a Sentence

  • One of my favorite parts of the concert was when the drummer went crazy on the cymbals.
  • The percussionist used a bunch of different cymbals to create different sounds and effects for the audience.
  • I love how the cymbal’s shimmering sound adds depth and texture to my musical composition.
  • The small splash cymbal was used for the high-pitched accents in that song you like.
  • The symphony’s percussion section included a slew of large cymbal crashes for a dramatic impact.
  • When my son began drum lessons, he practiced the cymbals for weeks. We were proud, but we also bought some noise-canceling earphones.

Symbol or Cymbal? You Decide!

And there you go! Now you shouldn’t ever have a problem mixing up these two words again. A symbol is a sign or marking, and a cymbal is part of a drum set that looks like a metal disc. Easy peasy! The way I remember is that “symbol” starts with the letter S, and so does “sign.”