Thursday, January 06, 2011

epigoni: word of the day

I choose "epigoni" as today's word. How? I randomly browsed through a recently given copy of The Lexicon by Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.

The word reminds me of Republicans reciting select portions (no unpleasant reminders of slavery, please) of the U.S. Constitution on the House floor today, an exercise in textual fundamentalism, puritan rigor, and showy self-righteousness.

So, why "epigoni," which means disciples, or in Buckley's phrasing: "Close followers, given to imitating, or being bound by, the star they become the creatures of"?

I see these aforementioned crusading moralists as the epigoni of the so-called Tea Party movement, or perhaps would-be epigoni of the Tea Party -- until such stance is not politically beneficial or not sufficiently subservient to the high priests of conservative orthodoxy.

The irony (fully intended) is that Buckley's example in his book lampoons the left, of course.

The singular of the word is epigonus.

According to Merriam-Webster, the pronunciation of both epigoni and epigonus puts the stress on "pig." (No comment.)

The trusty Online Etymology Dictionary sheds more light:

epigon, “undistinguished scions of mighty ancestors,” (sometimes in Latin plural form epigoni), from Gk. epigonoi, in classical use with reference to the sons of the Seven who warred against Thebes; plural of epigonos “born afterward” from epi (see epi-) + -gonos, from root of “to be born” related to gignesthaigenos "race, birth, descent"

Back to our regularly unscheduled blather.


Mark Murphy said...

Epigoni: What an Italian duellist says when he discovers that his sword is missing.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Since Merriam-Webster's audio clip more or less says something that sounds like "a pig and I," I expect something along the lines of "Miss Piggy Takes on Yul Brynner."