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 m-w.com). The adj form is: stentorian. And it's on Dictionary.com, 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?

5 comments:

The Ridger, FCD said...

"Argus-eyed"

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.