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Oct 16, 2014
This week's theme
Words from mythology

This week's words
odyssey
cimmerian
narcissist
atlas
charon

Atlas holding up the celestial globe
Atlas holding up the celestial globe
Art: Guercino, 1646

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

atlas

PRONUNCIATION:
(AT-luhs)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A person who supports a great burden.
2. A book of maps, charts, tables, plates, etc.
3. The first vertebra of the backbone.
4. A size of drawing paper 2633 or 2634 inches
5. An architectural column in the shape of a man. (Plural: atlantes. Another word for this is telamon. The female equivalent is caryatid.)

ETYMOLOGY:
After Atlas, a Titan in Greek mythology, who was condemned by Zeus to support the heavens. A book of maps is called an atlas because early books of this kind depicted Atlas on the cover holding the earth on his shoulders. Earliest documented use: 1589.

USAGE:
"Williams's performance is forced, as if he believes he is an Atlas holding up the whole picture."
Afterlives; Stanley Kauffmann; The New Republic (Washington, DC); Oct 26, 1998.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it. -Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

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