Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  The Vocabulary Forum    Eponyms from the Ancient Greeks
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Eponyms from the Ancient Greeks Login/Join
 
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted
Let's return to a favorite theme: eponyms, or words from the names of real or fictional characters. A few years ago we've had themes of eponyms from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and from the Muses. This week we look at more eponyms from the ancient Greeks.

apollo – a young man of great physical beauty
    This also points to the central problem of bad Washington novels--their implausibility. In the typical novel, Washington is an electrifying place, a city of dark and mysterious intrigues, home to oversexed cupcakes and Apollos of insatiable virility and masterful cunning.
    – Andrew Ferguson, National Review, Jan. 23, 1995
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
From the tale of Daedalus and Icarus:

Icarian – soaring too high for safety; applying to ambitious or presumptuous acts which end in failure or ruin
    In the view of some social philosophers and historians, space flight is an Icarian venture at its best—and an extravagance at its worst.
    – Daily Telegraph, Dec. 1, 1972 (credit OED for this lovely quote)
daedal – of ingenious design; or skillfully made, artistic
    'What a daedal maze,' said Stephen, referring to the workings of his mind ...
    – Patrick O'Brian, The Surgeon's Mate

    ... the best of the projects in the magazine were truly daedal: ingenious, cleverly intricate and diversified.
    – Eric Kraft, Taking Off
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Which brings to mind that wonderful word, logodaedaly.


RJA
 
Posts: 485 | Location: Westport CTReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
solon – a wise lawgiver, or a legislator [often sarcastic]
[from Solon, an early lawgiver of Athens]
    Markup sessions of the budget committees in both houses [of Congress] … were postponed until mid-month as the solons pondered how to spend the money.
    – Insight on the News, March 27, 2000
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<Asa Lovejoy>
posted
quote:
Originally posted by wordcrafter:
From the tale of Daedalus and Icarus:


I'm aquainted with one of the designers/builders of the human-powered aircraft that flew from Crete to Santorini back in the 1980s, attempting to recreate/reify the ancient myth.. Ironically, a wing collapsed just as it reached the shoreline, giving the pilot a dousing, so, despite the incredible success of the flight (setting the world record for human-powered flight distance and endurance) it was both daedal and icarian! The name of the bird was, of course, Icarus.
 
Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
pyrrhonism – extreme skepticism; universal doubt
[Pyrrho, founder of a school of skeptics in Greece, about 300 B.C.]

I'm fond of the first quote here.
    Scepticism is a highly civilized trait, though, when it declines into pyrrhonism, it is one of which civilizations can die. Where scepticism is strength, pyrrhonism is weakness: for we need not only the strength to defer a decision, but the strength to make one.
    – T.S. Eliot, Notes Toward a Definition of Culture

    I have often been reproached with the aridity of my genius; a deficiency of imagination has been imputed to me as a crime; and the Pyrrhonism of my opinions has at all times rendered me notorious.
    – Edgar Allen Poe, Ms. Found in a Bottle
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Today's two words are often used together, and often to the denigration of the latter. I'll give a variety of quotes.

Apollonian1. characterized by clarity, harmony, and restraint 2. serenely high-minded; noble

Dionysian – of an ecstatic, orgiastic, or irrational nature; frenzied or undisciplined
[from Dionysos, god of wine and revelry]
    … a tension between Dionysiac passion and Apollonian reason …
    – Michael Dirda, Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life

    Romantic notions of political creativity persist: In The New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg invoked Nietzsche's distinction between Apollo and Dionysus to explain Bill Clinton's "unheralded perseverance and political skill" in creating a new "political space" in America. The notion of Bill Clinton as Tragic Artist, part Apollonian seer, part Dionysian wild man, lovingly remaking our "public space" may sound like mere fatuous punditry …
    – Michael Knox Beran, National Review, Nov. 6, 2000

    The Dionysian has definitively triumphed over the Apollonian. No grace, no reticence, no measure, no dignity, no secrecy, no depth, no limitation of desire is accepted.
    – Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses
Bonus word:
fatuous
– silly and pointless (noun: fatuity)
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Zoilus; Zoilist – a carping, malignant critic [for origin, see quote]
    One of the funnier sketches in Mel Brooks's spoof epic, The History of the World: Part One, shows mankind's first artist daubing a prehistoric mammoth on the wall of a cave. He stands back to admire his work. Along comes mankind's first critic, who unzips his animal skin and pisses on it.

    There is a large grain of truth in Brooks's joke. One of the origins of modern newspaper reviewing - the cuttingest edge of criticism - are the "Zoilists" of the late-16th century. The name derives from Zoilus, the malignant critic of Homer. Zoilus was the man who dared say that the author of the Odyssey wasn't all that he was cracked up to be. It was the role of Zoilists (lovely word) to "carp" (another lovely word). Like their modern version, "flyters" (traders in literary insult), they had only one mission in critical life: to piss on the work of art. The only qualifications for the job were a full bladder and a brass neck.
    – John Sutherland, The Independent, Dec. 12, 1998
Bonus Word:
flyter
obs. one who scolds; a scold.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  The Vocabulary Forum    Eponyms from the Ancient Greeks

Copyright © 2002-12