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[os-truh-kon] /ˈɒs trəˌkɒn/
noun, plural ostraca
[os-truh-kuh] /ˈɒs trə kə/ (Show IPA)
(in ancient Greece) a potsherd, especially one used as a ballot on which the name of a person voted to be ostracized was inscribed.
Also, ostrakon.
1880-85; < Greek óstrakon; see ostracize Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for ostracon


(in ancient Greece) a potsherd used for ostracizing
Word Origin
from Greek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for ostracon

potshard or limestone flake used in antiquity, especially by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews, as a surface for drawings or sketches, or as an alternative to papyrus for writing as well as for calculating accounts. Of considerable artistic merit, the drawings on ostraca, which are usually coloured, depict scenes from nature and everyday life or scenes in which animals seem to parody human actions (it has been conjectured that the latter illustrated popular fables).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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