Symbols in Clojure are frequently used. states that symbols are used to “refer to function parameters, let bindings, class names, and global vars”. Essentially symbols are a piece of data. Symbols are not storage locations, but instead they are used to refer to the value of a variable. It can also be said that symbols are used as identifiers within the language.

Here are a few examples of symbols:

(defn get-board [board-vector]

board-vector is a symbol and it refers to the value passed into the function get-board

(let [x 1] (println x))
; => 1

x is a symbol that is bound to the value of 1 inside the let statement.

(def person {:name "avni" :age 23})
; => user/person
; => {:name "avni", :age 23}

The first line denotes a global var, person, which was created in the user namespace. The next call, person, is a symbol that refers to the global var person which is a hash-map.

(* 8 10)
; => 80

Here * is a symbol that refers to the function *.

You can stop the evaluation of symbols but using a quote before them like this

=> hello_world

Symbols are scattered throughout the Clojure language and are reference points to pieces of data.