February 11, 2012
allegory (noun)
\AL-uh-gor-ee\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a story in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for truths about human life
How do you use it?
The medieval play "Everyman" is an allegory that has characters with names like Knowledge, Beauty, Strength, and Death.
Are you a word wiz?

"Allegory" comes from the Greek word "allegorein," meaning "to speak figuratively." This word traces back to the root "egorein." What do you think "egorein" means?

The truth is that D is the answer. "Egorein" means "to speak publicly." Added to "allos," meaning "other," the resulting word, "allegorein," means "to speak figuratively" -- that is, to talk about something using words that usually are used to refer to something else. "Allegory" is a broad term that includes some other kinds of stories you've probably heard of. Fables are allegories intended to teach a lesson and involving animals that talk and act like people. Parables are also allegories. They're short and simple stories that illustrate a moral or spiritual truth.
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