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Words derived from Greek and Roman mythology and used today

Content for Mains Enrichment


Source: IE

Word Derived from Meaning in Contemporary Usage
Promethean Prometheus Rebelliously and daringly creative or innovative.
Nemesis Nemesis Avenger or punisher, also the punishment itself.
Paean Paean Song of thanksgiving and praise.
Protean Proteus Varying, versatile.
Jovial Jupiter Always happy, inspiring mirth.
Saturnalia Saturn Unrestrained revelry, wild celebration, happy time
Saturnine Saturn Gloomy, serious, sombre.
Bacchanalian Bacchus The celebration marked by feasting and revelry.


Story of Prometheus:

He was one of the Titans in Greek mythology that stole fire from the Olympian Gods and gave it to humanity, thus equipping mortals with the means to spread civilization – as well as destroy it. For his transgression, he was punished by Zeus, the king of Olympians. Prometheus has represented the eternal quest of humans for knowledge, and the tragedy that often accompanies this quest.


Story of Nemesis:

It was the name given to the goddess of retribution in Greek mythology who saw to it that a successful person does not become proud or haughty – if that happened, she would put him in his place by punishing him.


Story of Proteus:

It was a sea god who could change his shape and form to avoid capture by his enemies. From the myth is derived the English word protean.


Story of Bacchus:

The story of The Greek god of wine was Bacchus in whose honour wild celebrations used to be held which were characterized by frenzy. So, bacchanalia indicates a celebration marked by bacchanalian feasting and revelry.


Usage: You may use the words as well as the story behind them in an Essay paper to value add to your arguments.