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Entities (objects, words, images, sounds) that stand in for or represent something other than, or more than, themselves. The thing indicated or referenced may be either abstract or concrete. Symbols act as bridges between two different entities: the real and the imaginary, the material and the immaterial, the visible and the invisible, the small and the large, and the local and the distant. Symbols are the basis of all communication: Languages use symbols to associate a word or a sound with ideas or things. The study of symbol systems is called semiotics.