- The definition of an allegory is a story in which people, things or happenings have a symbolic meaning.
Aesop's Fables are an example of an allegory.
- a story in which people, things, and happenings have a hidden or symbolic meaning: allegories are used for teaching or explaining ideas, moral principles, etc.
- the presenting of ideas by means of such stories
- any symbol or emblem
Origin: Middle English allegorie ; from Classical Latin allegoria ; from Classical Greek allēgoria, description of one thing under the image of another ; from allos, other (see else) plush agoreuein, to speak inch(es) assembly ; from agora, agora
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. al·le·go·ries
- a. The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form.b. A story, picture, or play employing such representation. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and Herman Melville's Moby Dick are allegories.
- A symbolic representation: The blindfolded figure with scales is an allegory of justice.
Origin: Middle English allegorie, from Latin allēgoria, from Greek, from allēgorein, to interpret allegorically : allos, other; see al-1 in Indo-European roots + agoreuein, to speak publicly (from agora, marketplace; see ger- in Indo-European roots).
- alˈle·goˌrist noun
allegory - Cultural Definition
A story that has a deeper or more general meaning in addition to its surface meaning. Allegories are composed of several symbols (see also symbol) or metaphors. For example, in The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, the character named Christian struggles to escape from a bog or swamp. The story of his difficulty is a symbol of the difficulty of leading a good life in the “bog” of this world. The “bog” is a metaphor or symbol of life's hardships and distractions. Similarly, when Christian loses a heavy pack that he has been carrying on his back, this symbolizes his freedom from the weight of sin that he has been carrying.