Word for Wednesday: Echo

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for August is eponymous words

An eponymous word is a word that is named after a person or fictional character. These people or characters are known as eponyms and examples include the Earl of Sandwich (sandwiches), the Duke of Wellington (wellington boots), and Don Quixote (quixotic). 

Eponym comes from the Greek epi- meaning ‘upon’ or ‘called after’ and the Aeolic dialect -onyma meaning ‘name’. ‘Onyma’ comes from the PIE root ‘no-men’ meaning ‘name’.

So far we’ve looked at the words August and hoover. This week’s word is echo.

An echo is the repetition of a sound resulting from reflection of the sound waves. 

In Greek mythology, Echo was a nymph known for her loquaciousness. She put this trait to use by distracting Hera, the Queen of Gods, while King Zeus was conducting affairs with the other nymphs. When Hera discovered the truth, she cursed Echo so that she could only repeat the words of others back to them. After being rejected by a young man called Narcissus, Echo supposedly wasted away until all that was left of her was her voice. In another myth, Narcissus, known for his arrogance, was tempted to a pool by Nemesis. There he fell in love with his own reflection, and not realising it was merely an image, reached towards it and drowned. It is from Narcissus that we get the word narcissism

Learn about more words that derive from Greek myths here.

18 Aug 2021
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