A pentagram (sometimes known as a pentalpha or pentangle or a star pentagon) is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes. The word pentagram comes from the Greek word πεντάγραμμον (pentagrammon), a noun form of πεντάγραμμος (pentagrammos) or πεντέγραμμος (pentegrammos), a word meaning roughly "five-lined" or "five lines", from πέντε (pente), "five" + γραμμή (grammē), "line".
Pentagrams were used as an important religious symbol by the Pythagoreans in ancient Greece and Babylonia relating to the elements theorized by Empedocles to comprise all matter. Pentagrams are used today as a symbol of faith by many Wiccans, akin to the use of the cross by Christians and the Star of David by Jews. The pentagram has magical associations, and many people who practice Neopagan faiths wear jewelry incorporating the symbol. Christians once more commonly used the pentagram to represent the five wounds of Jesus. The pentagram has associations with Freemasonry and is also utilized by other belief systems.
The word "pentacle" is sometimes used synonymously with "pentagram", and this usage is borne out by the Oxford English Dictionary, although that work specifies that a circumscription makes the shape more particularly a pentacle. Wiccans and Neopagans often make use of this more specific definition for a pentagram enclosed in a circle.
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