fun facts

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 and agriculture.

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 as atlases.

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 king who 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 was completely unobtainable.

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 closer.

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 rainbow.

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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