paean n

[L, hymn of thanksgiving esp. addressed to Apollo, fr. Gk paian, paion, fr. Paian, Paion, epithet of Apollo in the hymn] : a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph

paeon n
[L, fr. Gk paion, fr. paian, paion paean] : a metrical foot of four syllables with one long and three short syllables (as in classical prosody) or with one stressed and three unstressed syllables (as in English prosody)

palladium n
[ME, fr. L, fr. Gk palladion, fr. Pallad-, Pallas, epithet for Athena, patron goddess of Athens] 1 : a statue of Pallas whose preservation was believed to ensure the safety of Troy 2 : safeguard 3 : a silver-white ductile malleable metallic element

1 pander n
[ME Pandare Pandarus, fr. L Pandarus, a Lycian archer in the Trojan War who in legend procures Cressida for Troilus] 1 a : a go-between in love intrigues b : pimp 2 : someone who caters to or exploits the weaknesses of others

2 pander v
to act as a pander; esp: to provide gratification for others' desires

Pandora n
[fr. L, fr. Gk: lit. all-gifted, the first woman, created by Hephaestus, given treacherously to Epimetheus along with a box in which Prometheus had confined all the evils of the world; as expected, Pandora curiously opened the forbidden box and thus released into the world all troubles of mankind] : a moon of Saturn

Pandora's box n
[fr. the box sent by the gods to Pandora] : a prolific source of troubles

pandora shell n
any marine bivalve of the genus Pandora, having a scimitar-shaped shell; also, the shell

1 panic adj
[F panique, fr. Gk panikos, lit., of Pan, fr. Pan, a Greek god of pastures, flocks, and shepherds usu. represented as having the legs, horns, and ears of a goat] 1 : of, relating to, or resembling the mental or emotional state believed induced by the god Pan 2 : of, relating to, or arising from a panic

2 panic n
1 : a sudden overpowering fright 2 : a sudden widespread fright concerning financial affairs that results in a depression of values caused by extreme measures for protection 3 : one that is very funny

3 panic v
1 : to affect with panic 2 : to produce demonstrative appreciation on the part of 3 : to be affected with panic

pan-pipe n
[Pan, its traditional inventor] : a primitive wind instrument consisting of a series of short vertical pipes of graduated lengths bound together with the mouthpiece in an even row

pantheon n
[ME Panteon, a temple at Rome, fr. L Pantheon, fr. Gk pantheion temple of all the gods] 1 : a temple dedicated to all the gods 2 : a building serving as a burial place of or containing memorials to the famous dead of a nation 3 : the gods of a people 4 : a group of illustrious people

1 Paphian n
[L paphius, fr. Gk paphios, fr. Paphos, ancient city of Cyprus that was the center of the worship of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love] : prostitute

2 Paphian adj
of or relating to illicit love : wanton

Parcae n
[L Parcae, the Fates] : fate

Parnassian adj
[L parnassius of Parnassus, fr. Gk parnasios, fr. Parnasos Parnassus, mountain in Greece sacred to the god Apollo and the Muses] : of or relating to poetry

Parthenon n
[L, fr. Gk Parthenon] : the temple of Athena built on the acropolis at Athens

Pasiphae n
[fr. Gk, the wife of Minos, mother of Ariadne, and mother of the Minotaur by the Cretan bull] : one of the many moons of Jupiter

Pegasus n
[L, fr. Gk Pegasos a winged horse that causes the stream Hippocrene to spring from Mount Hellison with a blow of his hoof] 1 : poetic inspiration 2 : a northern constellation near the vernal equinoctial point

Penelope n
[fr. Gk, the wife of Odysseus who remained faithful to him throughout his absence at Troy, despite having many suitors] : a girl's given name

peony n
[ME piony, fr. MF pioine, fr. L paeonia, fr. Gk paionia, fr. Paion Paeon, physician of the gods] : any of a genus (Paeonia of the family Paeoniaccae) of chiefly Eurasian plants with large often double flowers

Perseid n
[L Perseus; fr. their appearing to radiate from a point in Perseus] : any of a group of meteors that appear annually about August 11

Perseus n
[L, fr. Gk Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae and slayer of Medusa] : a northern constellation between Taurus and Cassiopeia

phaeton n
[L, fr. Gk Phaethon, a son of Helios who drives his father's sun-chariot through the sky but loses control and is struck down by a thunderbolt of Zeus] 1 : any of a various light four-wheeled horse-drawn vehicles 2 : touring car

philomel n
[L Philomela, fr. Gk Philomele, an Athenian princess who was raped by her brother-in-law Tereus and, after having had her tongue cut out by him, was later avenged and transformed into a nightingale] : nightingale

phlegethon n
[L. fr. Gk Phlegothon, a river of fire in Hades] : a stream of fire or fiery light

Phobos n
[fr. L Phobus, a son and attendant of Ares in Roman mythology] : one of two satellites of Mars

1 phoebe n
[L, fr. Gk Phoibe, Artemis] : any of a genus (Sayornis) of American flycatchers

2 Phoebe n
1 : one of the nine satellites of Saturn 2 : the moon personified, in literature 3 : a girl's given name

Phoebus n
[L, fr. Gk Phoibus, Apollo] Literary : the sun

1 phoenix n
[L, fr. Gk phoinix a mythical bird, Phoenician; fr. Phoenix, the brother of Cadmus and Europa and eponymous ancestor of the Phoenicians] 1 : a mythical bird of great beauty, the only one of its kind, fabled to live 500 or 600 years, to burn itself on a funeral pile, and to rise from its ashes in the freshness of youth and live through another cycle of years 2 : a person or thing of peerless beauty or excellence 3 : a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity

2 Phoenix trademark
a photographic technology company

pierian adj
[L Pierius, of or relating to the region of Pieria in ancient Macedonia where the Muses were once worshipped] 1 : of or relating to learning poetry 2 : of or pertaining to inspiration

Pierian Spring n
a fountain in Pieria, sacred to the Muses and supposedly conferring inspiration or learning on anyone who drank from it

pierid n
[fr. NL Pieridae, family of butterflies named for nine maidens who challenged the Muses to a singing contest and lost, and were transformed into magpies for insulting the victors, fr. Gk Pierides Muses] : a pierid butterfly

pleiad n
[fr. F Pleiade, fr. L, fr. Gk Pleiad-, Pleias, fr. sing. of Pleiades, the seven daughters of Atlas turned into a group of stars in Greek mythology] : a group of usu. seven illustrious or brilliant persons or things

Pleiades n
a conspicuous cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus that includes six stars in the form of a very small dipper

Pluto n
[L Pluton-, Pluto, fr. Gk Plouton Pluto, the Greek god of the underworld] : the planet with the farthest mean distance from the sun

plutonian adj
of, relating to, or characteristic of Pluto or the lower world

plutonic adj
formed by solidification of magma deep within the earth and crystalline throughout

plutonium n
a radioactive element

priapic adj
[L priapus lecher, fr. Priapus, a Greek and Roman god of gardens and male generative power] 1 : phallic 2 : relating to or preoccupied with virility

procrustean adj
[L, fr. Gk Prokroustes Procrustes, a villainous son of Poseidon in Greek mythology who forces travelers to fit into his bed by stretching their bodies or cutting off their legs] : marked by arbitrary often ruthless disregard of individual differences or special circumstances

procrustean bed n
a scheme or pattern into which someone or something is arbitrarily forced

Promethea moth n
[NL, fem. of L Prometheus Prometheus, a Titan who is chained and tortured by Zeus for stealing fire from Heaven and giving it to mankind] : a silkworm moth, Callosamia promethea, having reddish-brown wings, the larvae of which feed on spicebush and other lauraceous plants

promethean adj
daringly original or creative

Prometheus n
a satellite of the planet Saturn

promethium n
[NL, fr. L Prometheus] : a radioactive metallic element

protea n
[NL, fr. L Proteus, fr. Gk Proteus Proteus, a sea god in Greek mythology noted for his ability to assume different forms and to prophesy] : any of a genus (Protea of the family Proteacaea, the protea family) of evergreen shrubs often grown for their showy bracts and dense flower heads

protean n
1 : of or resembling Proteus in having a varied nature or ability to assume different shapes 2 : displaying great diversity or variety

1 proteus n
a person or thing that readily changes appearance, character, principles, etc.

2 Proteus n
1 : a satellite of Neptune 2 : any of a genus (Proteus) of aerobic usu. motile enterobacteria

psyche n
[L, fr. Gk psyche soul, fr. Psyche Psyche, a princess loved by Cupid] 1 a : soul, self b : mind

python n
[L, monstrous serpent killed by Apollo, fr. Gk Python, fr. Pytho Delphi, site of Apollo's oracle] : any of various large constricting snakes

pythoness n
[ME Phitonesse, fr. MF pithonisse, fr. LL pythonissa, fr. Gk Python, spirit of divination, fr. Pytho Delphi] : a woman who practices divination, as would a prophetic priestess of Apollo

1 pythonic adj
prophetic, oracular

2 pythonic adj
1 : of or pertaining to pythons 2 : pythonlike 3 : gigantic or monstrous

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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