ICON – what does it all mean?
An Icon is a person or a thing that is a universal symbol for something. Back in the days before our AI – artificial intelligence – computer assistance full of high-quality symbols, like the play button and refresh button, icons usually referred to a person who was universally known as a symbol. For example, Marilyn Monroe was known, in her time, as a sex symbol. Even today, you can see a picture of Marilyn Monroe in her famous roles such as the iconic white flying skirt recognized and repeated as a female sex symbol. Of course that was in the 1950s when there was a very specific idea of feminine sexuality promoted in US culture. But another example might be the band Queen. Queen is an icon for powerful, new music that breaks all ground. We would say that Queen, the band, is iconic.
But what does all that have to do with the symbols that we see on our computers? Why are they called icons? Ahh, it’s because they are symbols that are universally understood to mean a whole idea. For example the circular arrow means refresh or redo. The spinning wheel means “I’m working on it“. Now there are many, many more.
You can see here 50 of the most common icons that you will find on your computer or any electronics. When someone is learning how to use a computer for the first time, understanding these icons is essential.

Icons on the Web