Week of September 12, 2021

It’s All Greek to Me, pt. IV


Thespis, a 6th century BC Greek poet, was said to be the first to ever get onstage as an actor, hence the term “thespian” is given to dramatic stage actors in his honor.


One ancient school of Greek medicine taught that body fluids, or humors, were the cause of moods, so the word “melancholy” consists of the words for “black bile,” which supposedly caused this gloomy mood.


The word “democracy” comes from the Greek words “demos” meaning “the people” and “kratos” or “rule.” That is, “rule by the people.”


The word “music” derives from the Greek word for “art of the muses.” In Greek mythology, muses were the nine goddesses who inspired science, literature, and the arts.


Ancient Greeks also thought that the stars orbited around the earth. The five planets observable to the Greeks were believed to be stars but had less predictable motions than other stars, so “planet” derives from the Greek “planetes” or “wanderer.”


Chronos, Greek god of time, is who we have to thank for words like chronology, chronic, chronicle, and other terms about time.


The word “sarcasm” traces back to the early Greek “sarkazien” which literally meant “to tear the flesh,”as if with the mocking remark.