The figurative style known as allegory has nothing to do with alligators — unless you're telling a story where alligators represent evil forces snapping at humanity.

An allegory is like a metaphor on steroids: a writer tells a fictional story where everything and everyone in it is supposed to represent a deeper meaning. Using a plain old metaphor, you might call death "the grim reaper," but an allegory might build a whole tale of how the grim reaper goes around in a black cloak and informs people of their impending doom. Aesop's Fables are allegories, with animals taking the place of different human character types — though Aesop never wrote an allegory about an alligator.

Definitions of allegory

n a short moral story (often with animal characters)

apologue, fable, parable
Pilgrim's Progress
an allegory written by John Bunyan in 1678
Aesop's fables
a collection of fables believed to have been written by the Greek storyteller Aesop
Type of:
a piece of fiction that narrates a chain of related events

n a visible symbol representing an abstract idea

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scarlet letter
the letter A in red; Puritans required adulterers to wear it
a symbol for love in the form of a cherubic naked boy with wings and a bow and arrow
the symbol of the Democratic Party; introduced in cartoons by Thomas Nast in 1874
an emblem of peace
an emblem representing power
the symbol of the Republican Party; introduced in cartoons by Thomas Nast in 1874
bundle of rods containing an axe with the blade protruding; in ancient Rome it was a symbol of a magistrate's power; in modern Italy it is a symbol of fascism
ensign, national flag
an emblem flown as a symbol of nationality
hammer and sickle
the emblem on the flag of the Soviet Union
red flag
the emblem of socialist revolution
Magen David, Mogen David, Shield of David, Solomon's seal, Star of David
a six-pointed star formed from two equilateral triangles; an emblem symbolizing Judaism
an emblem (a small piece of plastic or cloth or metal) that signifies your status (rank or membership or affiliation etc.)
Agnus Dei, Paschal Lamb
figure of a lamb; emblematic of Christ
the emblem of Canada
an emblem indicating that a taxicab is registered
spread eagle
an emblem (an eagle with wings and legs spread) on the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States
Hakenkreuz, swastika
the official emblem of the Nazi Party and the Third Reich; a cross with the arms bent at right angles in a clockwise direction
merit badge
a badge award to Boy Scouts in recognition of special projects
a badge worn to show official position
I.D., ID
a card or badge used to identify the bearer
black belt
a black sash worn to show expert standards in the martial arts (judo or karate)
blue ribbon, cordon bleu
an honor or award gained for excellence
a round flat badge displaying information and suitable for pinning onto a garment
chevron, grade insignia, stripe, stripes
V-shaped sleeve badge indicating military rank and service
a piece of braid, usually on the sleeve, indicating military rank or length of service
Type of:
symbol, symbolic representation, symbolisation, symbolization
something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible

n an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances; an extended metaphor

Type of:
expressive style, style
a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period

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