What does ekphrasis mean?

Definitions for ekphrasis

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word ekphrasis.

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  1. ekphrasisnoun

    A clear, intense, self-contained argument or pictorial description of an object, especially of an artwork.

  2. Etymology: From ἔκφρασις, from ἐκφράζω, from ἐκ + φράζω.


  1. Ekphrasis

    The word ekphrasis, or ecphrasis, comes from the Greek for the written description of a work of art produced as a rhetorical or literary exercise, often used in the adjectival form ekphrastic. It is a vivid, often dramatic, verbal description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined. Thus, "an ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art." In ancient times, it might refer more broadly to a description of any thing, person, or experience. The word comes from the Greek ἐκ ek and φράσις phrásis, 'out' and 'speak' respectively, and the verb ἐκφράζειν ekphrázein, 'to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name'. The works of art described or evoked, may be real or imagined; sometimes it is hard to tell. Ancient ekphrastic writing can be useful evidence for art historians, especially where paintings are concerned, as virtually no original Greco-Roman examples survive. Ekphrasis has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness. A descriptive work of prose or poetry, a film, or even a photograph may thus highlight through its rhetorical vividness what is happening, or what is shown in, say, any of the visual arts, and in doing so, may enhance the original art and so take on a life of its own through its brilliant description. One example is a painting of a sculpture: the painting is "telling the story of" the sculpture, and so becoming a storyteller, as well as a story (work of art) itself. Virtually any type of artistic medium may be the actor of or subject of ekphrasis. One may not always be able, for example, to make an accurate sculpture of a book to retell the story in an authentic way; yet if it is the spirit of the book that we are more concerned about, it certainly can be conveyed by virtually any medium and thereby enhance the artistic impact of the original book through synergy.

Editors Contribution

  1. Ekphrasis

    In ancient. Greece, the term ekphrasis was applied to the skill of describing a thing with vivid detail.

    Submitted by Soulwriter on May 24, 2021  

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ekphrasis in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ekphrasis in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Translations for ekphrasis

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • اكفراسيسArabic
  • ekfrázeCzech
  • ekphrasis This word does not have a direct translation in Danish. It refers to a vivid description of a work of art in poetry or literature.Danish
  • EkphrasisGerman
  • εκφρασηGreek
  • ekfrizoEsperanto
  • ekphrasis es un término utilizado en crítica literaria y retórica para describir la representación verbal de una obra de arte visual.Spanish
  • افرازPersian
  • ekfrasisFinnish
  • ekphrasisFrench
  • ékfrásaíochtIrish
  • EkphrasisHindi
  • ekphrasis - műalkotás művészeti leírása vagy megjelenítése szóban vagy írásbanHungarian
  • կարծես բառ չարփանել, թե ինչպես կարելի է թարգմանել այդը:Armenian
  • ekphrasisIndonesian
  • ekphrasisItalian
  • אקפרזיסHebrew
  • エクフラシスJapanese
  • ಎಕ್ಫ್ರಾಸಿಸ್Kannada
  • 예끼아시스Korean
  • ekphrasisLatin
  • ekphrasisDutch
  • ekfraseNorwegian
  • ekfrazaPolish
  • ekphrasis ekfrasePortuguese
  • ekphrasis ekfrazaRomanian
  • экфрасисRussian
  • ekfras (Note: Although ekphrasis is a Greek word and doesn't have a direct translation in Swedish, the closest equivalent would be "ekfras".)Swedish
  • ekphrasisTamil
  • ఏక్ఫ్రేసిస్Telugu
  • อิคฟราซิสThai
  • ekphrasisTurkish
  • екфразаUkrainian
  • وروفتگیUrdu
  • Ekphrasis được dịch sang tiếng Việt là "mô tả hình ảnh" hoặc "mô tả nghệ thuật".Vietnamese
  • ekphrasis - עקפראסיסYiddish
  • 描绘文字/艺术交融Chinese

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"ekphrasis." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/ekphrasis>.

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    brought into agreement or cooperation on the side of a faction, party, or cause
    A occasional
    B suspicious
    C aligned
    D plush

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