Definitions

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

  • n. A cross shaped like a T with a loop at the top, especially as used in ancient Egypt as a symbol of life. Also called ansate cross.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cross shaped like a T with a loop at the top, the Egyptian hieroglyph representing the Egyptian triliteral ˁ-n-ḫ ("eternal life") and often used as an amulet or charm for this concept.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A tau cross with a loop at the top, used as an attribute or sacred emblem, symbolizing generation or enduring life. Called also crux ansata.
  • n. an amulet or piece of jewelry shaped like an ankh{1}.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Egyptian art, the emblem of enduring life, or symbol of generation, generally represented as held in the hand of a deity, and often conferred upon royal favorites. It is the crux ansata (which see, under crux).

Etymologies

Egyptian 'nḫ, life.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Egyptian (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Egyptian symbol of the ankh is a knot, which represents life.

    Donna Henes: Connecting To The World Wide Web Of Life

  • At my first duty station, I had the Egyptian symbol for eternal life, called an ankh, tattooed on the back of my left shoulder.

    I’m Still Standing

  • You know im a pisces like the queen! that's my girl, Ms. Badu … love the song! it might have been two years since the last album, but it seemed like eternity. the ankh is a symbol for eternal life …

    Bossip

  • Also I think that maybe since the ankh is a symbol of female fertility and the statue had an ankh that once the statue is destroyed like we know happens and only a four-toed foot remains that causes the deaths during childbirth.

    Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch

  • The ankh is the Egyptian symbol for eternal life and was the necklace Amy took off Paul.

    Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch

  • These were now scattered at random, but my trained eye immediately fell on an "ankh" sign shaped from lapis and a tiny turquoise chick, which represented the sound "u" or "w."

    The Curse of the Pharaohs

  • Summer’s dad had said the ankh was an Egyptian life symbol that kept away bad luck.

    THE FORBIDDEN GAME

  • He is ram-headed, and holds in his hand the "ankh," or emblem of life. 1 Another new acquaintance is

    A Thousand Miles Up the Nile

  • The Soul, grasping in one hand a little sail, the emblem of breath, in the other hand the "ankh," or emblem of Life, hovers over the face of the corpse.

    Pharaohs, Fellahs and Explorers

  • * In some scenes, the united "ankh" and Ka become the head and arms of a tiny figure which holds a parasol or feather-fan outstretched towards the King.

    Pharaohs, Fellahs and Explorers

Comments

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  • An Egyptian religious device, rather like a cross, but with a loop top. Unicode character U2625 doesn't render on my browser.

    June 20, 2008

  • "'Sure,' said Hardin. He had a sudden thought. 'Does Biggie still wear the ankh?'
    'The what?'
    'The ankh.' He sketched it on the back of the menu.
    'Yeah, he still wears that thing. Didn't know it had a name. It should be valuable.'"
    - 'Windfall', Desmond Bagley.

    January 6, 2008