|—n , pl -phies|
|1.||an object such as a silver or gold cup that is symbolic of victory in a contest, esp a sporting contest; prize|
|2.||a memento of success, esp one taken in war or hunting|
|3.||in ancient Greece and Rome|
|a. a memorial to a victory, usually consisting of captured arms raised on the battlefield or in a public place|
|b. a representation of such a memorial|
|4.||an ornamental carving that represents a group of weapons, etc|
|5.||informal (modifier) highly desirable and regarded as a symbol of wealth or success: a trophy wife|
|[C16: from French trophée, from Latin tropaeum, from Greek tropaion, from tropē a turning, defeat of the enemy; related to Greek trepein to turn]|
|—n combining form|
|indicating a certain type of nourishment or growth: dystrophy|
|[from Greek -trophia, from trophē nourishment]|
|—adj combining form|
Nutrition; growth: hypertrophy.
(from Greek tropaion, from trope, "rout"), in ancient Greece, memorial of victory set up on the field of battle at the spot where the enemy had been routed. It consisted of captured arms and standards hung upon a tree or stake in the semblance of a man and was inscribed with details of the battle along with a dedication to a god or gods. After a naval victory, the trophy, composed of whole ships or their beaks, was laid out on the nearest beach. To destroy a trophy was regarded as a sacrilege since, as an object dedicated to a god, it must be left to decay naturally. The Romans continued the custom but usually preferred to construct trophies in Rome, with columns or triumphal arches serving the purpose in imperial times. Outside Rome, there are remains of huge stone memorials, once crowned by stone trophies, built by Augustus in 7/6 BC at La Turbie (near Nice, Fr.) and by Trajan c. AD 109 at Adamclisi in eastern Romania.
Learn more about trophy with a free trial on Britannica.com.