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...:: گنجینه زبان من / My English Treasure::... - Lesson 6
...:: گنجینه زبان من / My English Treasure::...
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Lesson 6

 

Mythology (I)

 

  1. Adonis: an exceptionally handsome young man; a plant with solitary red or yellow flowers. Adonis was beloved by both Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and Persephone, the queen of the dead. He was killed by a boar in a hunting expedition and from his life’s blood sprang up a crimson flower.

 

  1. Bacchanal: a follower of Bacchus (Greek, Dionysus), the god of wine; a drunken reveler; an orgy. Early Greek drama developed in connection with the festival honoring this god.

 

  1. Cassandra: a daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy who had the gift of prophecy but was cursed by Apollo so that her prophecies, though true, were fated never to be believed;  one who prophecies doom or disaster. The Trojans thought Cassandra was insane and would be destroyed if Paris went to Sparta, and that there were armed Greeks in the Wooden Horse. If either of these prophecies had been heeded, Troy would have been saved.

 

  1. Cornucopia: abundance; horn of plenty. Named after the horn of the goat Amalthea that suckled the infant Zeus, the horn is always full of food and drink in endless supply.

 

  1. Erotic: concerning sexual love and desire; amatory. Eros was the Greek god of love, identified by the Romans with Cupid and represented as a winged child. While erotic has retained the sexual connotation, cupidity has acquired the meaning of “greed.”

 

  1. Herculean: tremendously difficult and demanding; resembling Hercules in size, power, or courage. Hercules was the son of Zeus and Alcmene who won immortality by performing Twelve Labors demanded by the jealous Hera.

 

  1. Hermetic: made airtight by fusion or sealing; insulated or cloistered; magical. Hermes (Latin, Mercury) was the messenger of the gods and the god of roads, commerce, invention, cunning, and theft. A most versatile god, Hermes is identified with the caduceus, the golden staff with wings at the top and intertwined with serpents, which is the symbol of today’s medical profession.

 

  1. Hydra: the nine-headed serpent slain by Hercules; a persistent or many-sided problem that presents new obstacles as soon as old ones are solved. The hydra had to b en slain by Hercules as one of his Twelve Labors. This monster grew two heads for each one cut off. Hercules finally destroyed the hydra by cauterizing the necks as he cut off the heads.

 

  1. Hymeneal: pertaining to marriage; a wedding song or poem. Hymen, the god of marriage, was represented as a handsome youth holding a torch.

 

  1. Iridescent: displaying lustrous colors like those of the rainbow. Iris was a messenger of the gods and regarded as the goddess of the rainbow.

 

  1. Narcissism: excessive admiration of oneself; egocentrism. Narcissus was a youth who, having spurned the love of Echo, fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool, and after wasting away from unsatisfied desire was transformed into the flower that bears his name. The plant, incidentally, has narcotic effects (from Greek narke, “numbness)

 

  1. Odyssey: a long series of wanderings, especially when filled with notable experiences or hardships. The Odyssey, called “the greatest tale of all time,” is the second epic of Homer. It recounts the wandering and adventures of Odysseus after the fall of Troy, and his eventual return home to his faithful wife Penelope.

 

  1. Olympian: pertaining to the twelve gods of the ancient Greek pantheon whose abode was Mt. Olympus; majestic; incomparably superior; pertaining to the Olympic games. Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, is located in northern Greece (Macedonia). It is sometimes used synonymously with “heaven” or “the Sky.”

 

  1. Palladium: anything believed to provide protection or safety; a safeguard or guarantee of the integrity of social institutions. Palladion was the fabled statue of Pallas Athena that assured the safety of Troy as long as it remained within the city.

 

  1. Phoenix: a person or thing of peerless beauty or excellence; a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation. The phoenix was a mythical bird of great beauty, fabled to live 600 years in the Arabian desert, to burn itself on a funeral pyre, and to rise form its ashes to live through another cycle. It is an emblem of immortality.

 

 

Exercises

 

I. Which Word Comes to Mind?]

 

In each of the following, read the statement, then circle the word that comes to mind.

 

  1. Stung by Cupid’s arrow

(hydra, Cassandra, erotic)

  1. A sumptuous feast

(narcissism, cornucopia, odyssey)

  1. Joseph’s coat of many colors

(iridescent, hymeneal, palladium)

  1. Superhuman feats of strength

(Adonis, hermetic, Herculean)

  1. Wine, women, and song

(Olympian, bacchanal, phoenix)

  1. Admiring himself in the mirror

(narcissism, hymeneal, palladium)

  1. The male model appeared on several magazine covers

(hermetic, Herculean, Adonis)

  1. This year, designers are using vivid rainbow colors

(iridescent, erotic, bacchanal)

  1. Story of the journey of Ulysses

(odyssey, Olympian, palladium)

  1. From last place to first place

(phoenix, narcissism, hermetic)

 

II. True or False?

 

In the space provided, indicate whether each statement is true or false.

 

____ 1. Phoenix and palladium both suggest permanence.

 

____ 2. A stick-in-the-mud would be unlikely to engage in an odyssey.

 

____ 3. A narcissist is a lover of flowers.

 

____ 4. A bacchanal would likely attend every wedding feast but his own.

 

____ 5. Cassandra’s song would probably be a top seller.

 

____ 6. The happy month held a cornucopia of good news for the family.

 

____ 7. I refuse to deal with iridescent complaints.

 

____ 8. After his plastic surgery, Ronnie was a regular Adonis.

 

____ 9. The president said, “Bringing peace to the Middle East is a Herculean task.”

 

____ 10. Feeding the hydra was very costly.

 

 

 

III. Find the Imposter

 

Find and circle the one word on each line that is not related to the other three.

 

1. Cassandra                dramatic                       prophetic                      doomsday

2. baccalaureate           revelry                          bacchanal                     Dionysian

3. wisdom                    metallic             palladium                      safety

4. luxuriant                    cornucopia                   corpulent                      plethora

5. erotic                        wandering                     digression                     desultory

 

 

IV. Fill in the Blank

 

Insert one of the new words in the proper space in each sentence below

 

  1. When the package was opened, out poured a veritable ______________ of goodies.
  2. Filling fifty bags of leaves from our lawn in two hours proved to be a __________ task.
  3. Like the ____________, our last place team rose from the ashes to become champions.
  4. The designer filled her dark showroom with _____________ fabrics, which brightened it considerably.
  5. As I read the autobiography, I followed the author’s _____________ from poverty to riches.
  6. Receiving an Academy Award is akin to scaling ____________ heights.
  7. Although he had been an ordinary looking teenager, Maxwell developed into a genuine ______________.
  8. When smallpox destroyed the model’s good looks, she was cured of her ____________.
  9. I always anticipate a victory but my sister remains a _______________.
  10. The choir and organist launched into a beautiful _______________ as the bridal couple entered the chapel.


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