Definition of allegory in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈaləˌɡôrē/

noun (plural allegories)

1A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one: Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of the spiritual journey
More example sentences
  • It can, and has, also been interpreted as an allegory of the political, economic and social adventures of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
  • At a news conference, Lucas acknowledged the political allegories of the saga, which could have contemporary resonance although he wrote it at the time of the Nixon era.
  • My first response upon rereading the book, largely thanks to my current preoccupations, was to interpret the story as an allegory about writing fiction.
parable, analogy, metaphor, symbol, emblem
1.1A symbol.
Example sentences
  • He mediates through symbols, metaphors, allegories and metonymy to transmute his experiences of the phenomenal world.
  • But then comes the coded ending, and you realize that Bagger is a symbol, an allegory, a pillar of life, death and whatever else.
  • Your dreams are full of symbols and allegories.



Pronunciation: /ˈaləˌɡôrəst/
Example sentences
  • The Christian allegorists, recharging the remaindered Pagan symbols, hope to exorcise the residual energies of the pagan world.
  • Kafka wrongly gets posited as a political or humanitarian allegorist, when his stories are rather personal series of images and processes that cannot be conclusively unlocked.
  • Allegorical imagery is appropriated imagery; the allegorist does not invent images but confiscates them.


Late Middle English: from Old French allegorie, via Latin from Greek allēgoria, from allos 'other' + -agoria 'speaking'.

  • An allegory is basically speaking about one thing in terms of another, and comes from Greek allos ‘other’ and -agoria ‘speaking’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: al·le·go·ry

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Related Words