What's in a Word | All Blogs


Labor-intensive? Yes. Worth it? Oh, yeah…

By Debra Dobbins

Ancient Romans really got around. They dominated much of what we know as Europe and northern Africa for centuries. Because the Romans invaded the British Isles, we still have many Latin words in modern-day English.

The country we now know as Greece was also among Roman conquests. The Romans borrowed freely from Greek culture, taking words, gods and goddesses into their own way of life.

The word herculean is the adjective form of the proper noun Hercules. A Roman demigod, he was the son of Jupiter (Zeus to the Greeks) and a mortal woman. The Romans adapted this demigod from the Greeks’ Heracles, according to Wikipedia.

Hercules is best known for completing 12 strenuous labors. Thus, his name is associated with extreme courage, perseverance and/or strength. His name is also given to a large northern constellation, according to Webster’s.

Herculean is a good word to think of when one savors the delicious, but labor-intensive, creations of local Greek bakers such as those ladies in the photo below. As a lucky participant in past Greek festivals, I can definitely say their herculean labor results in delicacies “fit for the gods.”


 

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