Set 11 – Five New Words for Nov 11

Theme: Baddies from fiction

1.  Bluebeard (BLOO-beerd)

MEANING:
noun: A man who marries and kills one wife after another.
The feminine equivalent of the word could be black widow.

USAGE:
“I’d always considered you more of a monk than a Bluebeard. This new pattern is somewhat a concern.”

2. Procrustes (pro-KRUS-teez)

MEANING:
noun: A person imposing conformity without concern for individuality.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Procrustes, a giant in Greek mythology, who stretched or cut his victims to make them fit his bed. The word is more often used in its adjective form procrustean. (= adj. Producing conformity using harsh means. )

USAGE:
“But is not almost every man a Procrustes? We have not the power of showing our cruelty exactly in the same method, but actuated by the like spirit, we abridge of their liberty, and torment by scorn, all who either fall short, or exceed the usual standard.”
Sarah Scott; Millennium Hall; Broadview Press; 1995.

“Why don’t you go on a diet, dear, instead of throwing this dress away,’ the old Mr. Parsimoni gave his wife the procrustean advice.”

3. siren (SY-ruhn)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A beautiful and seductive woman, especially one leading others into disaster.
2. Something attractive that is potentially disastrous.
3. A device that makes loud sounds, used for warning signals.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Siren, one of a group of sea nymphs, whose enchanting singing lured sailors to shipwreck on the rocks around their island.

USAGE:
“That woman is a siren of cooking. She calls a man’s soul through his stomach.”

“In the mid-17th century Russians first heard its [The Amur River, bordering Russia and China] siren song and appeared on its banks, drawn by greed and fantasy.”

4. gorgon (GOR-guhn)

MEANING:
noun: An ugly, repulsive, or terrifying woman.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Gorgon, any of the three monstrous sisters Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa in Greek mythology, who had snakes for hair. They turned into stone anyone who looked into their eyes.

USAGE:
“Without warning, she fell to the floor in labor pains, screaming like a gorgon.”

5. Dr. Strangelove (DOK-tuhr STRAYNJ-luv)

MEANING:
noun: Someone who is reckless about the use of weapons such as nuclear bombs.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Dr. Strangelove, title character of the 1963 film directed by Stanley Kubrick. Strangelove, a former Nazi, is a nuclear expert and adviser to the president.

USAGE:
“In both the world of new science and that of quick-fix military technology we need, more than ever, to be on perpetual guard against the Dr. Strangeloves of the future.”

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