omphalos was our Word of the Day on 04/03/2008. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of omphalos in a Sentence
during the Vietnam War the university's campus effectively became the area's omphalos for antiwar activity
Did You Know?
Omphalos originated as an ancient Greek word meaning "navel" and is distantly related to two other words of the same meaning, Latin umbilicus and Old English "nafela." (The latter of these is the source of our word navel.) The ancient Greeks also used "omphalos" to refer to a sacred, rounded stone in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi that was supposed to mark the center of the earth. In the 19th century, English speakers borrowed "omphalos" for this sense and its more general "center of activity" sense, as well as to refer to raised ornamentation on a shield or in the base of a cup or dish. In the 1920s, "omphalos" made another contribution to English via the word omphaloskepsis, which means "contemplation of one's navel."
Synonymsaxis, base, capital, central, core, cynosure, epicenter, eye, focus, ground zero, heart, hub, locus, mecca, navel, nerve center, nexus, nucleus, center, seat
Related Wordsheadquarters; happy hunting ground, hive, hotbed, hot spot, playground, playland; kernel, nub, pith; deep, thick; essence, quintessence, soul; attraction, lodestone (also loadstone), magnet, polestar
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up omphalos? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).