Where does the word “trophy” come from and What does trophy mean?

After a victorious battle it was a custom of the Greeks of early days to take from the field the arms of the enemy and hang them up on the stump of a tree in such manner as to imitate an armed man, the helmet on the top, breastplate about the stump, and shield, sword, and spear attached to branches left for the purpose.

Such a monument was named tropaion, literally, “a turning point,” for it signified the turning point of a battle, the place where the enemy had been put to flight. If the enemy permitted the monument to be erected, it was a confession of defeat.

The Greek term became tropceum among the Romans, who followed a similar custom, but was later altered to tropLeum, from which our term trophy is derived.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

Leave a Comment