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Intended to ward off evil: an apotropaic symbol.

[From Greek apotropaios, from apotrepein, to ward off : apo-, apo- + trepein, to turn; see trep- in Indo-European roots.]

ap′o·tro·pa′i·cal·ly adv.


preventing or intended to prevent evil
[C19: from Greek apotropaios turning away (evil), from apotrepein; see apo-, trope]


(ˌæp ə trəˈpeɪ ɪk)

intended to ward off evil.
[1880–85; < Greek apotrópai(os) averting evil (see apo-, trope) + -ic]
ap`o•tro•pa′i•cal•ly, adv.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.apotropaic - having the power to prevent evil or bad luckapotropaic - having the power to prevent evil or bad luck
lucky - having or bringing good fortune; "my lucky day"; "a lucky man"
References in periodicals archive ?
What Rowling writes these days, under the pen name Robert Galbraith, are crime novels: the closest equivalent adults have to the apotropaic formula of childhood literature, parading the unimaginable in front of us and then solving it, stabilising it.
Later the same day the branded ox was ritually medicated for apotropaic reasons with bile from another ox killed by a blow to the head from a stone to obtain its gall bladder.
The apotropaic measure enjoined here does not guarantee the woman healthy offspring, but only that the woman's future reproductive soundness shall not have been harmed by her having talked, while menstruating, with a man who has the Veda on the tip of his tongue.
46) Karen Bassi 1998:139 makes the sobering observation that 'while Priapus, satyrs, and the ithyphallic comic actors evoke laughter, the hyperbolic exposure of the phallos as costume is the overt concealment of the real thing, an overdetermined apotropaic gesture against emasculation'.
A darker, apotropaic note is sounded by the scraps of this prayer sewn on black strips of cloth winding around the supporting posts of the entrance and interior of the tent.
The cause of Bes' apotropaic character needs further investigation by Egyptologists.
Beginning with the most famous of Freud's contentions in "Medusa's Head"--that her apotropaic power resides in a primal fear of castration--it is worthwhile to remember how Saturn became "the planet governing inversions.
Turner cites William Blake in speaking of the kind of action the man from Syracuse takes: "In apotropaic [intended to ward off evil] sacrifice the negative, polluting, or evil outcomes of social action in social structure are 'given a body,' as William Blake said of error, 'in order that it may be cast off'" ("Sacrifice" 197).
Another explanation is that the head-cover is an apotropaic symbol and the semantic value is, in this case, connected to the pragmatic nature of the ritual efficiency.
Like a medieval reliquary, Blood & Taste is more than an historic record; rather, it is the actual presentation of bodily relics of Olivia contextualised with inscriptions that create a personal narrative of origin, as well as serving as an apotropaic talisman.
Le Fanu's Carmilla), he took the idea of the wooden stake as apotropaic from vampire folklore.