Trophies have marked victories since ancient times. The word trophy coined in English in 1550, was derived from the French trophée in 1513, "a prize of war", from Old French trophee, from Latin trophaeum, monument to victory, variant of tropaeum, which in turn is the latinisation of the Greek τρόπαιον (tropaion), the neuter of τροπαῖος (tropaios), "of defeat" or "for defeat", but generally "of a turning" or "of a change", from τροπή (tropē), "a turn, a change" and that from the verb τρέπω (trepo), "to turn, to alter".
- 1: something gained or given in victory or conquest especially when preserved or mounted as a memorial
- 2a : a memorial of an ancient Greek or Roman victory raised on the field of battle or on the nearest land for a naval victory
- b : a representation of such a memorial (as on a medal); also : an architectural ornament representing a group of military weapons
- 3: a game animal or fish suitable for mounting as a trophy —usually used attributively
- 4: one that is prized for qualities that enhance prestige or social status —usually used attributively <a trophy wife> <a trophy house>
A trophy is a reward for a specific achievement, and serves as recognition or evidence of merit. Trophies are most often awarded for sporting events, from youth sports to professional level athletics. In many sports medals are often given out either instead of or along with trophies.
Originally the word trophy, derived from the Greek tropaion, referred to arms, standards, other property, or human captives and body parts (e.g. headhunting) captured in battle. These war trophies commemorated the military victories of a state, army or individual combatant. In modern warfare trophy taking is discouraged, but this sense of the word is reflected in hunting trophies .