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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


preventing or intended to prevent evil
[C19: from Greek apotropaios turning away (evil), from apotrepein; see apo-, trope]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Christ's sweat, blood, and dirt magically transform the handkerchief into an apotropaic talisman.
Analogously, the wearing of Virginia Woolf's image on one's chest, like Perseus' or Athena's or the Greek warriors' apotropaic wearing of Medusa's head on their aegis or shield, becomes an act of both self-protection and defiance: a claiming of Virginia Woolf's powers, including her feminist agency, for oneself.
Others--especially neo-Marxists--will have a very different attitude toward it, a magical or apotropaic attitude, as if to ward off a bad spell; or else they ignore it in audible silence.
That passage, together with Oberon's apotropaic blessing on the offspring of the three weddings ('Never mole, harelip, nor scar.
But Ephrem implies that until the final triumph of God's Kingdom, the force of divinity within the believer is also specifically apotropaic in the place where the dead repose.
This edition is identical to the 11976 translation; apparently Johns Hopkins UP bought the rights, but no one bothered to add an index (perhaps because it would include terms such as "apotropaic" and "hesychasm").
Abrams writes with impressive critical sophistication, using many hard words (aporetic, apotropaic, epigone--"I'll get 'em all three all ready"), but his discussions of style are often tendentious, sometimes self-contradictory.
the exclusion of women from Foucault's vision while at the same time acknowledging the utility of his critique of sexual confession as an apotropaic device, a strategy to deflect the inquisitorial gaze from its ordained target, the subject's (and a fortiori the female subject's) sex" (227).
Statues may be apotropaic, able to bind wandering spirits and prevent them from troubling the land.(53) Take the case of the image of Actaeon at Orchomenos (9.38.5):
Hence the apotropaic plaque showing a dice-pot alongside the phalli of hoped-for good fortune (and the avoidance of bad luck).(81) Formal oracles could take the form of interpretation of the throw of dice.(82) It was worth dedicating the boards to the gods.(83) The rather tame literary versions of these aphorisms in the Latin Anthology include the sensible NULLUS UBIQUE POTEST FELICI LUDERE DEXTRA, "no one can play with lucky right hand on all occasions".(54) As usual the mood of the actual tabulae is less measured and polished: real alea was in deadly earnest.
If Medusa's head takes the place of a representation of the female genitals, or rather if it isolates their horrifying effects from their pleasure-giving ones, it may be recalled that displaying the genitals is familiar in other connection as an apotropaic act.
It accounts especially for the apotropaic function of inflicting wounds on the boy-man's body (scarification, circumcision, subincision, castration), and especially for the mandate to brave near-death tests of skill and endurance.