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Oct 1, 2012
This week's theme
Words from classical mythology

This week's words
aesculapian
protean
terpsichorean
bacchanal
morphean

Aesculapius with his staff
Aesculapius with his staff
Vatican Museums

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

At one time the Roman and Greek gods were as real to people then as our gods are to us now. They bowed before them, they built temples, they made offerings.

Yet no one today in his sane mind thinks praying to Aesculapius is going to heal anyone. Perhaps a time will come when future generations will look at our gods just as we look at gods from Greek and Roman mythologies.

At any rate, this week we are celebrating gods whose stock has fallen. If nothing else, let's thank them for enriching us with entertaining stories and descriptive words that are now part of our language.

Aesculapian or Esculapian

PRONUNCIATION:
(es-kyuh-LAY-pee-ehn)

MEANING:
adjective: Relating to medicine.
noun: A doctor.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing in Greco-Roman mythology. One of his daughters was named Hygieia. Earliest documented use: 1604.

NOTES:
The Rod of Aesculapius (), a single snake around a staff is used as a symbol related to medicinal arts, though sometimes it is confused with the caduceus (), the staff of Hermes, with wings and two snakes around it.

USAGE:
"Dr. Rollins, the eminent Aesculapian, is having a secret affair with A.J. Morgan."
Francine Pascal; Sweet Valley Confidential; St. Martin's Press; 2011.

See more usage examples of aesculapian in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Whenever books are burned men also in the end are burned. -Heinrich Heine, poet, journalist, and essayist (1797-1856)

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