Monday, June 16, 2008

Cool Words from the Trojan War

I used the word stentoriously in the post below. It's a fun word--it just sounds so pompous! And it has a very useful meaning & connotation.

But I wanted to be sure I spelled it right, so I went to look it up.

It's not in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate (nor on The adj form is: stentorian. And it's on, which I will grudgingly trust. Of course, it's perfectly acceptable to adverb a word.

But I was fascinated to see its root! (It showed up in 1609, not that long ago, actually; I should go study the history of language or English lit, or something; I bet there was a time period of influx of all those Greek mythology references)

Latin, from Greek Stentōr, Stentor, a Greek herald in the Trojan War noted for his loud voice

I hadn't known about Stentor before. This is fun.

I wonder, if we were trying to invent the word now, whose name would we use?

Oh, and I was musing on the term Trojan horse the other day, too, thinking that it's SUCH a useful term, and such an amazing, classic idea--the seemingly harmless thing you bring inside your defenses that actually carries the seed of your destruction within it.

What's your favorite word from Greek mythology?


The Ridger, FCD said...


But I really don't know why.

Least favorite: hectoring. Hector was too cool to have his name degraded into that meaning!

TootsNYC said...

Now I'm going to have to read up on Hector.

And Argus-eyed, I can see its appeal! Not the least of which is that you get to show off that you know who Argus was.

But aren't I right--that if these terms hadn't sprung from the prevalence of the Greek classics, we'd have had to come up w/ a substitute some other way?

I mean, "hector"--that's pretty specific in its meaning, and VERY useful!

The Ridger, FCD said...

Yes, I think you're right - they're so useful because they encapsulate an otherwise wordy notion.

JD said...

I always think it should be Stenorian and Hectoring. After all, these are words named after people, right?

TootsNYC said...

True, but once an eponymous word has been around a little while, it gets its own identity.