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Oct 2, 2012
This week's theme
Words from classical mythology

This week's words
aesculapian
protean
terpsichorean
bacchanal
morphean

Proteus
Proteus: A woodcut by Jörg Breu
From the Book of Emblems by Andrea Alciato (1531)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

protean

PRONUNCIATION:
(PRO-tee-uhn, pro-TEE-uhn)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Assuming many forms: variable.
2. Able to handle many different things, as roles in a play. Versatile.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Proteus, a sea god in Greek mythology, who could assume different forms. He got his name from Greek protos (first) as he was one of the earliest sea gods. Earliest documented use: 1594.

USAGE:
"Bruce Chatwin: Such a protean character, a man of many parts. A man who loved the austere but was also flamboyant in manner."
Thor Kah Hoong; Protean Character; The Star (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia); Feb 27, 2007.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)

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