academy n
[L acadmeia, fr. Gk Akademeia, a park and gymnasium located near Athens where Plato taught, fr. Akademos a man who helped Castor and Pollux find their sister Helen when she was first kidnapped] 1 a : a school usu. above the elementary level b : a high school or college in which special skills or subjects are taught c : higher education 2 : a society of learned persons organized to advance art, science, or literature 3 : a body of established opinion widely accepted as authority in a particular field

Achaean adj
[fr. L Achae(us) Achaeus, the eponymous founder of Achaea, a district in Greece] 1 : Greek n 2 : a Greek
Achates n
[L Achates, the companion and friend of Aeneid] : a faithful friend or companion

Acheron n
[Gk Acheron, a river in Hades over which Charon ferried the souls of the dead]: the infernal regions: Hell

Achilles' heel n
[fr. L, fr. Gk Achilleus Achilles, the greatest Greek warrior at Troy, slayer of Hector] : a vulnerable point

Achilles tendon n
the strong tendon joining the muscles in the calf of the leg to the bone of the heel

Adonic adj
[fr. ML Adonic(us), fr. Gk Adonis, a favorite man of Aphrodite, slain by a wild boar but permitted by Zeus to pass four months of every year in the lower world with Persephone, four with Aphrodite, and four wherever he chose] 1 : noting a verse consisting of a dactyl followed by a spondee or a trochee 2 : of or like Adonis

adonis n
a very handsome young man

Adrastea n
[L, a daughter of Melisseus entrusted by Rhea with the rearing if the infant Zeus] : a satellite of Jupiter

Aegean Sea n
[fr. L Aegae(us) Aegeus, a king of Athens and father of Theseus, he threw himself into this body of water in grief at the death of his son] : an arm of the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Turkey

aegis n
[L, fr. Gk aigis goatskin, shield of Zeus, perh. fr. aig-, aix goat] 1 : a shield or breastplate emblematic of majesty 2 a : protection b : controlling or conditioning influence 3 a : auspices b : control or guidance by an individual, group, or system

aeolian adj
[L, fr. Gk Aiolos Aeolus, the ruler of the winds and eponymous founder of Aeolis] : giving forth or marked by a moaning or sighing sound or musical note produced by or as if by the wind

aeolian harp n
a box-shaped musical instrument having stretched strings on which the wind produces varying harmonics

Aeolian mode n
an authentic church mode represented on the white keys of a keyboard instrument by an ascending scale of A to A

Aeolis n
an ancient coastal region and Greek colony on Asia Minor

aesculapian adj
[Aesculapius, Greco-Roman god of medicine, fr. L, fr. Gk Asklepios] : of or relating to the healing art

agave n
[NL Agave, genus name, fr. L, a daughter of Cadmus, fr. Gk Agaue] : any of a genus (Agave of the Agavaraceae, the agave family) of plants having spiny-margined leaves and flowers in tall spreading panicles and including some cultivated for their fiber or sap or for ornament

Ajax trademark
[Gk, a hero in the Trojan War who rescued the body of Achilles] : used for a brand of cleaner

alcyonarian n
[ultim. fr. Gk alkyoneian, a zoophyte, fr. neut. of alkyoneios of a kingfisher, fr. alkyon kingfisher; fr. legend of Alcyone in which she is transformed into a kingfisher after throwing herself into the sea after her dead husband] : any of a subclass (Alcyonaria) of colonial anthozoans having polyps with eight branched tentacles and eight septa

Alcyone n
[L, fr. Gk Alkyone] : the brightest star in the Pleiades

Amalthea n
[L, a nymph who brought up the infant Zeus on the milk of a goat; in some versions she is a goat rather than a nymph] : a satellite of Jupiter

amazon n
[ME, fr. L, Fr. Gk Amazon] : a tall, strong, often masculine woman

ambrosia n
[L, fr. Gk, lit. immortality, fr. ambrotos immortal] 1 a : the food of the Greek and Roman gods b : the ointment or perfume of the gods 2 : something extremely pleasing to taste or smell 3 : ragweed

ambrosial n
1 : of or fit for the gods; divine 2 : like ambrosia; delicious; fragrant

ambrosia beetle n
any of various small wood-boring beetles (family Scolytidae) that cultivate a fungus on which they feed and raise their larvae

amethyst n
[fr. L amethystus, fr. Gk amethystos not drunk, not intoxicating, sometimes fr. a story told by Aristotle that Amethyst was a beautiful nymph changed into a gemstone to save her from Dionysus, who then gave the stone its purple to preserve the wearer from the effects of wine] : a clear purple or bluish violet variety of crystallized quartz

andromeda n
[NL Andromeda, fr. Gk Andromede, wife of Perseus, genus name, fr. L] : any of several evergreen shrubs (genera Pieris and Andromeda) of the heath family

Andromeda n
a northern constellation between Perseus and Pegasus

antaean adj
[Antaeus, a giant overcome by Hercules] 1 : mammoth 2 : having superhuman strength

aphrodisiac n
[Gk aphrodisiakos sexual, fr. aphrodisia, pl. sexual pleasures, fr. neut. pl. of aphrodisios of Aphrodite, fr. Aphrodite Greek goddess of love] 1 : an agent that arouses or is held to arouse sexual desire 2 : something that excites

apollonian adj
[L Apollo, fr. Gk Apollon Apollo, god of sunlight, prophecy, music, and poetry] : harmonious, measured, ordered, or balanced in character

April n
[ME April, Averil, Aperil, fr. L Aprilis, perh. fr. Gk Aphro, short for Aphrodite] 1 : the fourth month of the Gregorian calendar 2 : a girl's given name

arachnid n
[NL Arachnida, fr. Gk arachne spider, assoc. with the myth of Arachne, a Greek maiden who was turned into a spider after pridefully defeating Athena in a weaving contest] : any of a class (Arachnida) of arthropods comprising chiefly invertebrates, including spiders, scorpions, mites, etc.

Arcturus n
[L, fr. Gk Arktouros, lit., bear watcher, fr. Arcas, son of Callisto who is turned into a bear like his mother to prevent him from killing her] : a giant fixed star of the first magnitude in Bootes

areocentric adj
[Gk Areios of Ares, fr. Ares] : having or relating to the planet Mars as a center

arethusa n
[L, fr. Gk Arethousa, a wood nymph who is changed into a spring to save her from the advances of the river god Alpheus] : any of several plants of the genus Arethusa, esp. A. bulbosa of No. America, a small bog orchid having a pink or white flower

Argo n
[Gk, the ship in which Jason and the Argonauts sailed in quest of the Golden Fleece] : a large southern constellation, now divided into four separate constellations

1 argonaut n
[L Argonautes, fr. Gk Argonautes, fr. Argo, ship in which the Argonauts sailed + nautes sailor] : an adventurer engaged in a quest

2 Argonaut trademark
a computer software company

argus n
[L, fr. Gk Argos, a hundred-eyed monster of Greek mythology] : a watchful guardian

Argus-eyed adj
vigilantly observant

Aries n
a northern constellation between Pisces and Taurus; the Ram

artemisia n
[fr. L, fr. Gk, equiv. to Artemis the sister of Apollo, the virgin huntress associated with the moon] : any of several plants of the genus Artemisia

asclepiad n
[ultim. fr. Gk asklepiad, swallowwort, fr. Asklepios, Greek god of medicine] : milkweed

asclepiadaceous adj
belonging to the Asclepiadaceae, or milkweed family of plants

athenaeum n
[L Athenaeum, a school in ancient Rome for the study of arts, fr. Gk Athenaion, a temple of Athena, fr. Athene Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, fertility, the useful arts, and prudent warfare] 1 : a building or room in which books, periodicals, and newspapers are kept for use 2 : a literary or scientific association

Athens n
[fr. Athene, for she was much worshipped here] : the modern-day capital of Greece

atlantean adj
[L Atlant-, Atlas, fr. Gk, after the strongest god, Atlas, who was punished for his part in the revolt against the Olympians by being forced to hold the world on his shoulders for eternity] : strong

1 atlas n
1 : one who bears a heavy burden 2 : a bound collection of maps 3 : the first vertebra of the neck 4 : a male figure used like a caryatid as a supporting column

2 Atlas n
the innermost moon of Saturn

atropine n
[G Atropin, fr. NL Atropa, genus name of belladonna, fr. Gk Atropos, one of the three Fates] : a mixture obtained from any of various solanaceous plants (such as belladonna) and used esp. for its antocholinergic effects (as pupil dilation or inhibition of smooth muscle spasms)

augean adj
[L Augeas, king of Elis, fr. Gk Augeias; fr. the legend that his stable, left neglected for thirty years, was finally cleaned by Hercules] : extremely formidable or difficult and occas. distasteful

Augean stable n
a condition or place marked by great accumulation of filth or corruption

1 aurora n
[L, dawn or the Roman goddess of dawn] 1 : dawn 2 : a luminous phenomenon that consists of streamers of light appearing in the upper atmosphere of earth 3 : the rise or dawn of something

2 Aurora trademark
a make of automobile

aurora australis n
an aurora that occurs in the southern hemisphere

aurora borealis n
an aurora that occurs in the northern hemisphere

austral adj
[fr. L australis southern, equiv. to Auster Auster, the personification of the south wind] : southern

Australia n

a continent SE of Asia between the Indian and Pacific oceans

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An Etymological Dictionary of Classical Mythology by Elizabeth W. Kraemer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Last updated 1/13/14