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Jun 13, 2019
This week’s theme
People who have had multiple words coined after them

This week’s words
Socratic method
Midas touch
philippic
herm
Achilles' heel

herm
A herm of Demosthenes
Sculpture: Polyeuktos, c. 280 BCE
Photo: Bibi Saint-Pol/Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

herm

PRONUNCIATION:
(huhrm)
also herma (HUHR-muh), plural hermae (HUHR-mee) or hermai (HUHR-my) or herms

MEANING:
noun: A square pillar topped with a bust.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Hermes, the god of roads, boundaries, eloquence, commerce, invention, cunning, theft, and more, in Greek mythology. Earliest documented use: 1579.

NOTES:
In ancient Greece, herm was a stone pillar with a square base. It had a bust of Hermes at the top and a phallus at the appropriate height. It was typically used as a boundary marker, milestone, or signpost.

USAGE:
“Her head bows, again by accident, in its direction, as though to a totem, or a herm.”
Adam Gopnik; This Odyssey of Ours; Town and Country (New York); May 2017.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. -William Butler Yeats, writer, Nobel laureate (13 Jun 1865-1939)

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