It’s surprising how many of our words
are references to gods that we’ve never heard of. Here are some
that we thought you might enjoy!
Cereal: Named after Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain
Atlas: One of the Greek Titans
banished by Zeus when they sided with his son against him. Atlas
was condemned to carry the world on his shoulders. That scene was
popular with early map-makers, who regularly put it on the cover of
their books of maps. The books themselves eventually became know
Panic: Named after the Greek god Pan, who was believed
to holler and shriek in the middle of the night. Greeks who heard
these noises often panicked.
Hygiene: Inspired by Hygeia, the
Greek goddess who brings good health.
Panacea: The Roman goddess who cures diseases.
Tantalize: Tantalus was a Greek
was punished by the other gods for tying to deceived them. He was
forced to stand in a pool of water up to his chin, but when he lowered
his head to drink, the water receded just out of reach. The same
was true with
food. The tantalizing food and water filled him with desire, but
Siren: The Greeks believed the Sirens were women who
called to passing sailors with their beautiful singing voices.
Sailors couldn’t resist them, in fact, the men were driven mad by the
songs and dashed their ships on the nearby rocks in their frenzy to get
Helium: This element, found in
the gaseous atmosphere of the sun, is named after Helio, the Greek god
of the Sun.
Iridescent: Named after Iris, the Greek goddess of the
Brownie: The cousins of the Girl
Scouts are named after the Celtic Brownies, small, brown-cloaked
fairies that perform house-hold chores while the family sleeps.
Ghouls: From the Arabic word Ghul, which was an
evil spirit that robbed tombs.
Money: Named after Juno Moneta,
the Roman goddess of money.
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