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allegory

[al-uh-gawr-ee, -gohr-ee]
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noun, plural al·le·go·ries.
  1. a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.
  2. a symbolical narrative: the allegory of Piers Plowman.
  3. emblem(def 3).
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Origin of allegory

1350–1400; Middle English allegorie < Latin allēgoria < Greek allēgoría, derivative of allēgoreîn to speak so as to imply something other. See allo-, agora1 Greek agoreúein to speak, proclaim, orig. meant to act (e.g., speak) in the assembly

Synonyms for allegory

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for allegory

figuration, parable, emblem, myth, symbol, story, tale, moral, fable, symbolism, apologue, symbolization, typification

Examples from the Web for allegory

Contemporary Examples of allegory

Historical Examples of allegory

  • The allegory is the life of its author cast in an imaginative form.

    Bunyan

    James Anthony Froude

  • They've got no use for Beauty, Allegory, all that high-brow racket.

  • Khalid proceeds with his allegory of the Muleteer and the Pack-Mule.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • The composite animal in Book IX is an allegory of the parts of the soul.

  • The allegory has a political as well as a philosophical meaning.


British Dictionary definitions for allegory

allegory

noun plural -ries
  1. a poem, play, picture, etc, in which the apparent meaning of the characters and events is used to symbolize a deeper moral or spiritual meaning
  2. the technique or genre that this represents
  3. use of such symbolism to illustrate truth or a moral
  4. anything used as a symbol or emblem
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Derived Formsallegorist, noun

Word Origin for allegory

C14: from Old French allegorie, from Latin allēgoria, from Greek, from allēgorein to speak figuratively, from allos other + agoreuein to make a speech in public, from agora a public gathering
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for allegory

n.

late 14c., from Old French allegorie (12c.), from Latin allegoria, from Greek allegoria "figurative language, description of one thing under the image of another," literally "a speaking about something else," from allos "another, different" (see alias) + agoreuein "speak openly, speak in the assembly," from agora "assembly" (see agora).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

allegory in Culture

allegory

[(al-uh-gawr-ee)]

A story that has a deeper or more general meaning in addition to its surface meaning. Allegories are composed of several symbols (see also symbol) or metaphors. For example, in The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, the character named Christian struggles to escape from a bog or swamp. The story of his difficulty is a symbol of the difficulty of leading a good life in the “bog” of this world. The “bog” is a metaphor or symbol of life's hardships and distractions. Similarly, when Christian loses a heavy pack that he has been carrying on his back, this symbolizes his freedom from the weight of sin that he has been carrying.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.