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Apr 22, 2019
This week’s theme
Eponyms

This week’s words
adonis
croesus
fortean
apollo
zoilus

Adonis
Art: Benjamin West (1738-1820)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Like humans, each word has a story to tell. We call it etymology.

The etymology is a word’s biography. You poke it a little, jiggle its spelling, sound it out, and it spills its secrets -- where it has been on its journey to reach us.

An eponym is where a word’s story and a human’s story come together. An eponym is a word coined after a person, real or fictional.

Eponyms are my go-to words. There are so many of them. I have featured weeks and weeks of them. As long as there are people, I believe we’ll have words coined after them. This week let’s meet five such words and the humans behind them.

Adonis

PRONUNCIATION:
(uh-DAHN-is, uh-DOH-nis)

MEANING:
noun: An exceptionally handsome young man.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Adonis, a strikingly handsome youth in Greek mythology, loved by Aphrodite and Persephone. Earliest documented use: 1571.

NOTES:
Adonis has a verb coined after him as well, adonize (to make more attractive), though he has nothing to do with anodizing.

USAGE:
“New to the Big Apple, the last thing Lexie Bloom needs is to fall for two guys at once. Especially when she can’t have either. One is her personal trainer, an Adonis way out of her league. The other? A Brit Lit professor her svelte boss insists she woo for her -- via text message, no less. Little does she know, the two are the same man.”
Jolyse Barnet; Text Me, Maybe; Entangled* Publishing; 2016.
*[An English lit prof. who moonlights as a personal trainer... entangled indeed. -Ed.]

See more usage examples of Adonis in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Do not commit the error, common among the young, of assuming that if you cannot save the whole of mankind, you have failed. -Jan de Hartog, playwright and novelist (22 Apr 1914-2002)

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