Dictionary and Journal

Ab ovo Dictionary Definitions

Ab ovo is a Latin phrase that means ‘from the beginning’. It is composed with the Latin preposition ab , which means ‘from’, and the noun ovo , which translates ‘egg’, that is, from the egg, from the most remote origin, from the beginning of everything.

The expression was taken from Horacio, who uses it to contrast the way in which Homer approached the destruction of Troy, that is, in media res , when the events of Troy are already on a good road, and not abvo, from his own origin, which is the time when Helena de Troya was born, who came into the world from an egg (ab ovo).

Ab ovo usque ad mala

Ab ovo is also part of the expression ab ovo usque ad mala, which literally means ‘from the egg to the apples’ , that is, from the beginning to the end of the meal, according to the order in which the food was served in Ancient Rome, which began with appetizers (eggs) until dessert (apples), so that the phrase could be interpreted as from the beginning to the end.

Ab ovo in narrative

In the field of the study of narrative, narratology, it is known as ab ovo that type of narration where the story is developed from its beginning, following the chronological order of events. In this sense, it differs from the other two classic types of narration: the narrative in media res, where the story begins in half of the facts that are told, and the narration in extreme res, where the narration begins at the end of the history.