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There are many words as well as other things that were influenced and based on characters from Greek mythology.

Words

  • The word syringe was derived from the word syrinx, the name Pan gave to the first Pan pipes. He named the syrinx after the maiden nymph Syrinx.
  • The word Phobia, meaning the fear of something, comes from Phobos, the god of fear.
  • The word nemesis, usually meaning someones worst enemy, comes from Nemesis, the goddess of revenge.
  • The word tantalizing, meaning wanting something you cannot have, comes from Tantalus, a son of Zeus, who was punished by the gods, left in the middle of a lake with a fruit tree above him, where he couldn't reach the water to drink it nor the fruit to eat it.
  • The word sisyphean, meaning a pointless task, comes from the mortal named Sisyphus, who was punished by having to roll a huge boulder up a cliff and watch it roll down again over and over for eternity.
  • The recreational drug morphine is named after Morpheus, the god of dreams.
  • The word echo, a reflection of sound, comes from the Nymph named Echo, who was cursed by repeating everything she said.
  • A Hermaphrodite, meaning someone with male and female genitalia, comes from Hermaphroditus, son of Hermes and Aphrodite
  • The word hygiene, comes from Hygieia, the goddess of cleanliness

Sayings and phrases

  • To carry the world on your shoulders, a phrase that comes from the Titan Atlas, who was punished with carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders for eternity.
  • Between a rock and a hard place is believed to come from the Odyssey where Odysseus had to choose between the Scylla and Charybdis in the strait of Sicily and the wandering rocks.
  • To open Pandora's box, a phrase that comes from the story of Pandora's Jar, means to perform an action that may seem small or innocent, but that turns out to have severely detrimental and far-reaching negative consequences.

Family

Odysseus and Jason were both cousins, and shared a same grandfather: Autolycus, a son Hermes.

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