• synonyms


noun Egyptian Art.
  1. a tau cross with a loop at the top, used as a symbol of generation or enduring life.
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Origin of ankh

First recorded in 1885–90, ankh is from the Egyptian word ʿnh̬ live; apparently at least partially homophonous with word for “sandal strap,” hence stylized picture of sandal strap became symbol for life
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ankh

Historical Examples of ankh

  • Its hieroglyphic name is Ankh, and its signification is “to live.”

    The Swastika

    Thomas Wilson

  • And here the inquiry is suggested, Was the ankh am the same as the modern henneh?

    The Blood Covenant

    H. Clay Trumbull

  • "With the ankh—just lay your hand on him like Mbopo did," explained Critch, laughing.

  • The ankh and mummy-case were set down right in front of him.

  • And we can carry off this whole blamed zareba that way, with the ankh too!

British Dictionary definitions for ankh


  1. a tau cross with a loop on the top, symbolizing eternal life: often appearing in Egyptian personal names, such as TutankhamenAlso called: ansate cross, crux ansata
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Word Origin for ankh

from Egyptian `nh life, soul
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 ankh


tau cross with an oval at the top, Egyptian symbol of life, 1873, from Egyptian ankh, literally "life, soul." Also known as crux ansata.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper