from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form.
  • noun A story, picture, or play employing such representation. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick are allegories.
  • noun A symbolic representation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To employ allegory; allegorize.
  • noun A figurative treatment of a subject not expressly mentioned, under the guise of another having analogous properties or circumstances; usually, a sentence, discourse, or narrative ostensibly relating to material things or circumstances, but intended as an exposition of others of a more spiritual or recondite nature having some perceptible analogy or figurative resemblance to the former.
  • noun A method of speaking or writing characterized by this kind of figurative treatment.
  • noun In painting and sculpture, a figurative representation in which the meaning is conveyed symbolically. Synonyms Simile, Metaphor, Comparison, etc. See simile.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A figurative sentence or discourse, in which the principal subject is described by another subject resembling it in its properties and circumstances. The real subject is thus kept out of view, and we are left to collect the intentions of the writer or speaker by the resemblance of the secondary to the primary subject.
  • noun Anything which represents by suggestive resemblance; an emblem.
  • noun (Paint. & Sculpt.) A figure representation which has a meaning beyond notion directly conveyed by the object painted or sculptured.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The representation of abstract principles by characters or figures.
  • noun A picture, book, or other form of communication using such representation.
  • noun A symbolic representation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances; an extended metaphor
  • noun a visible symbol representing an abstract idea
  • noun a short moral story (often with animal characters)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English allegorie, from Latin allēgoria, from Greek, from allēgorein, to interpret allegorically : allos, other; see al- in Indo-European roots + agoreuein, to speak publicly (from agorā, marketplace; see ger- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English allegorie, from Old French allegorie, from Latin allegoria, from Ancient Greek ἀλληγορία (allēgoria), from ἄλλος (allos, "other") + ἀγορεύω (agoreuō, "I speak")


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  • A tool for those with little imagination.

    December 4, 2006