Quiz of the Month – June 2013

Many words in the English language come from the names of people or things – real and mythical.  I invite you to name the people and things whose names were used to create common words in the English language.  Note that there are often multiple myths about some of the individuals mentioned below, and so you may have heard an alternate tale about the same occurrence.  You can find the answers on my Quiz Answers page.

  1. He was the Trojan who harried the Greeks and killed Achilles’ friend Patroklos.  He hated the Greeks, and let them know over and over how little he thought of them and their abilities as warriors.
  2. He was a herald for the Greeks in the Trojan War.  Because of his booming voice, everyone could hear him.
  3. He was a great Athenian lawmaker – wise and fair.  Now lawmakers who fit that mold are called by his name.
  4. He was the first legislator to produce a written code of law for Athens.  Some of his laws were harsh, so now someone who imposes harsh measures is said to be like him.
  5. He was said to be invincible because his mother dipped him in the river Styx which runs through the Underworld.  Unfortunately, the part of his body by which she held him was not touched by the water, and he was later killed by Paris.  Now someone who has a fatal flaw is said to have this.
  6. As a young man he was told that he would kill his father and marry his mother, and he did so without realizing what he had done for many years.  Sigmund Freud used his name to describe a psychological condition where a child has sexual desires for its parent of the opposite sex.
  7. This was an army of warrior women who were as fearless as any army of men.  From their name we get the word used to describe a woman who is strong and aggressive.
  8. A love that is chaste, and leads us to think lofty thoughts is said to be of this type.  It is named after the Greek writer who described it in his work Symposium.
  9. The Greeks tricked the Trojans into accepting a present that lead to their defeat.  The term has been broadened to mean anything that seems harmless, but isn’t.
  10. He was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman.  It is said that he angered the gods by killing and serving his son to the gods.  His punishment was to spend eternity in the underworld standing in a pool of water that receded as he bent over to take a drink, and with a tree full of fruit just out of reach above his head.  From his name we get a verb that means to tease someone into wanting something they can never have.
  11. This child of two Greek gods was born with both male and female sex organs.  His name is a portmanteau of his parents’ names, and is used to designate any plant or animal with both male and female reproductive organs.
  12. It took him ten years to get back to his home in Ithica after the Trojan War.  Now, his name is used to designate an extended, wandering journey.
  13. He was the Greek god who reigned over the underworld.
  14. The Latin name of the goddess of love is used to denote a type of disease that people get through sexual contact.
  15. Zeus, who was married to Hera, loved to make love to the mountain nymphs (among others).  One of the nymphs told Hera stories while Zeus played around.  When Hera discovered what was going on she punished the nymph by declaring that she would no longer be able to speak except to repeat what others yelled.
  16. She was the messenger of the Greek gods and the personification of the rainbow.  Her name is now associated with a colorful part of the eye and a plant that produces colorful flowers.
  17. This was originally a horn.  Now depictions of it show it filled to overflowing with various foods.  It is called “the horn of plenty.”
  18. She was the daughter of King Priam of Troy.  Apollo wanted to have an affair with her, and she set the price high – she wanted to be able to see the future.  Apollo granted her wish, but she later decided against the tryst, so Apollo modified her gift.  She was able to see the future, but no one would believe what she told them.  Now a person whose warnings of misfortune are disregarded is said to be like her.
  19. This word originated as the name of a river in Turkey that follows a curving path.  It is now used to designate a journey that follows a convoluted course.
  20. He was the last king of Lydia and he was noted for his great wealth.  Anyone who is very, very rich is said to be as rich as this king was.
  21. He was the god of time.  We now use his name in a word that means “sequential order,” and another than refers to something that is permanent – it doesn’t change with time.
  22. He was a beautiful man – the son of a Greek god and a nymph.  He saw his reflection in a pool of water, and refused to leave it.  Eventually he starved to death.
  23. He was the god who took revenge against arrogant people.  His name is now used to describe one’s enemy.
  24. He was the god of dreams.  Now a medicine that puts one into a dream-like state bears his name.
  25. He wanted vast wealth and he got it.  Everything he touched, including food and people, turned to gold.  His name is used to describe someone who seems to be lucky when it comes to amassing wealth.
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