Dictionary of Symbolism 

Originally Constructed by Allison Protas

Augmented and refined by Geoff Brown and Jamie Smith in 1997
and by Eric Jaffe in 2001 

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Locate an entry by clicking the letter it begins with.  A searchable index of all entries is also available, as well as an alphabetical listing of all entries.

This symbolism dictionary endeavors to provide some possible cultural significances of various symbols, and suggest ways in which those symbols may have been used in context. Most symbols are not code signals, like traffic lights, where red means stop and green means go, but part of a complex language in which green can mean jealousy or fertility or even both, depending on context. It is up to each of us to explore works of art sensitively, and decide for ourselves how the symbols in each work function. This website is offered as an aid in that enriching activity.


NEW!   In Depth Explorations of Symbolism

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