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allegory

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noun al·le·go·ry \ˈa-lə-ˌgȯr-ē\

Simple Definition of allegory

  • : a story in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for ideas about human life or for a political or historical situation

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of allegory

plural

allegories

  1. 1 :  the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also :  an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression

  2. 2 :  a symbolic representation :  emblem 2

Examples of allegory in a sentence

  1. Luther dismissed this mystical reading of the creative act as mere “allegory.” But for Augustine the six days are not just a rhetorical trope. They are unlike the figurative language of the curse on the snake. To say that Christ is a shepherd is a metaphor; but to say that he is light is literal, since physical light is a “shadow” of the real light spoken of in Genesis. —Garry Wills, Under God, 1990

  2. The Scarlet Letter is his masterpiece, because of the simplicity of its allegory and the grandeur of its colonial, Jacobean setting—and because of its shocking subject so nervously handled. Hester and Dimmesdale are sacred and profane love, subjects for Titian, yet conventionally clothed. —Robert Lowell, Collected Prose, 1987

  3. He saw thousands of Buddhas lined up in trays in the tourist shops … some in lead, some in wood, some carved in stone and dressed in a little knitted caps and capes. He came to see in this ubiquitous phenomenon the Buddha's godlike propensity for self-division, the endless fractioning of himself into every perceivable aspect, an allegory made by the people of Japan from the cellular process of life. —E. L. Doctorow, Loon Lake, 1979

  4. the long poem is an allegory of love and jealousy

  5. a writer known for his use of allegory



Origin and Etymology of allegory

Middle English allegorie, from Latin allegoria, from Greek allēgoria, from allēgorein to speak figuratively, from allos other + -ēgorein to speak publicly, from agora assembly — more at else, agora


First Known Use: 14th century



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