Thursday, June 3, 2010

Word of the Day 6/3/2010

Apotheosis (noun):
*1 : elevation to divine status : deification
2 : the perfect example : quintessence

Example Sentence: "Long before celebrity reached its apotheosis, the great gossip columnist and radio broadcaster Walter Winchell … understood that celebrity was a basis for an ongoing, daily national conversation…." (Neal Gabler, Newsweek, December 21, 2009)

Did you know?: Among the ancient Greeks, it was sometimes thought fitting -- or simply handy, say if you wanted a god somewhere in your bloodline -- to grant someone or other god status. So they created the word "apotheosis," meaning "making into a god." (The prefix "apo-" can mean simply "quite" or "completely," and "theos" is the Greek word for "god.") There's not a lot of Greek-style apotheosizing in the 21st century, but there is hero-worship. Our extended use of "apotheosis" as "elevation to divine status" is the equivalent of "placement on a very high pedestal." Even more common these days is to use "apotheosis" in reference to a perfect example or ultimate form. For example, one might describe a movie as "the apotheosis of the sci-fi movie genre."

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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