Definition of omphalos in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɒmfəlɒs/

noun (plural omphaloi /ˈɒmfəlɔɪ/)

1 literary The centre or hub of something: this was the omphalos of confusion
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.
2(In ancient Greece) a conical stone (especially that at Delphi) representing the navel of the earth.
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.
2.1A boss on an ancient Greek shield.
Example sentences
  • To the ancient Greeks, the general notion of omphalos was fundamental.


Greek, literally 'navel, boss'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: om|pha¦los

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