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Apr 10, 2017
This week’s theme
Eponyms from Greek mythology

This week’s words
orphic
myrmidon
nemesis
amazon
muse

Orpheus and Euridice
Orpheus and Euridice
Art: Joseph Paelinck (1781-1839)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

A story is like a magic carpet. It can take us across oceans, over the mountains, and to exotic places. And each word in a story has its own story. Think of it as a rolled-up carpet. This week we’ll take five words from Greek mythology and unroll them and take you on a ride to the world of magical stories.

orphic

PRONUNCIATION:
(OR-fik)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Melodious; entrancing.
2. Mystical; occult.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Orpheus, a musician, poet, and prophet in Greek mythology. His lyre-playing and singing could charm animals, trees, and even rocks. After his wife Eurydice, a nymph, died of a snakebite, he traveled to the underworld to bring her back. His music melted the heart of Hades, the god of the underworld, who allowed him to take his wife back on the condition that he not look back at her until they had reached the world of the living. They had almost made it when he looked back and lost her again. His mother Calliope/Kalliope has also given a word to the English language: calliopean. Earliest documented use: 1656.

USAGE:
“Rana’s playing has a kind of Orphic seductiveness.”
Hugh Canning, et al; Classical; The Sunday Times (London, UK); Feb 19, 2017.

“‘Rumi’s Secret’ is a strangely dry read considering it has a literally whirling mystic as its subject. As if fearing that too lyrical an approach to such an orphic figure would result in incoherence, Gooch describes this poet’s life in a decidedly unpoetic way.”
Alexander C. Kafka; The Mysterious Life of America’s Most Popular Poet; The Washington Post; Jan 19, 2017.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Joy is the best makeup. -Anne Lamott, writer (b. 10 Apr 1954)

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