Share this entry

Share this page

omphalos

Syllabification: om·pha·los
Pronunciation: /ˈämfələs
 
/

Definition of omphalos in English:

noun (plural omphaloi /-loi/)

literary
1The center or hub of something: this was the omphalos of confusion and strife
More example sentences
  • Fast-forward to New Guinea in 1942: I had returned to Port Moresby after a stint out in the bush, with a gruesomely suppurating abscess adorning my omphalos, or the seat of my soul.
  • In New York City, Columbus Circle is the omphalos, yet no building here comes close to exalting that special point in Manhattan space.
  • When they finally get to New York, the omphalos, the imagined center of their world, Singh dupes them into signing an iniquitous contract that will make him a fortune, and Ormus and Vina slaves for the rest of their careers.
1.1A rounded stone (especially that at Delphi) representing the navel of the earth in ancient Greek mythology.
Example sentences
  • Above, on a terrace cut into the mountainside and supported by an unusual masonry wall, stood the temple of Apollo with, at its centre, the omphalos stone symbolically marking the centre of the earth.
  • Further legends state that the omphalos at Delphi stands upon the spot where Apollo killed the serpent Python, or upon the chasm through which the waters of Deucalion's flood drained away.
  • He goes on to explain that ‘this god is the ancestral exegete for all mankind on such matters and expounds them to them, seated on the omphalos at the centre of the earth.

Origin

Greek, literally 'navel'.

Words that rhyme with omphalos

bugloss • Pátmos

Definition of omphalos in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtəːpsɪkəˈriːən
adjective
relating to dancing