Today marks the day of a new meme I’ve established in lieu of the occasional “More words I should use more often” post that appears on this blog. I will try to publish, every Wednesday, a new word that I have learned that I think merits dissemination. My inaugural word is:

thanatotic
adj. Of or pertaining to death as a personification or as a philosophical notion.

Marvel Comics fans among you will remember Thanatos Thanos [hat tip: Brady], the arch-villain and nemesis of Silver Surfer, a gravelly-faced creature who sought ultimate power over the universe. In actually, Thanatos was the Death (Θάνατος), a minor figure in Greek mythology (not to be confused with Hades, the god of the underworld) who embodied the power of death itself, and was thus the inspiration for a villain of such enormity.

Thanatotic as a word serves a useful purpose in any discussion of death qua abstract, such as my previous notion of skeleton warriors in Cleveland, an oblique reference to the moribund nature of much of that city.

§1226 · July 12, 2006 · Tags: ·

5 Comments to “Wednesday’s Word: thanatotic”

  1. Allison says:

    But I already thought you knew all the words of the dictionary? hahaha. Oh man, if only everyone else got the joke.

  2. Lina says:

    omg, your post just made me realize who an anonymous commenter on my blog was. Did you ever read that comment from Silver Surfer regarding my post about Father’s Day cards? I bet it was from Thanatos (remember him from UM?). It makes sense in other ways too.

  3. Ben says:

    I remember your post about cards, but I don’t remember anything about a Thanatos. Still, I’m glad I’ve solved(?) your dilemma. Pleasure to be of service.

  4. Rusty says:

    Hmmmm. That post and style of post doesn’t sit right with Thanatos to me. But anyway.

    Nice meme, Helio. I once briefly pondered doing something similar and more tongue-in-cheek: inventing new words to paste over a gap in the language, e.g. nouns that don’t have a corresponding adjective (maybe dunic or dunal, to describe something as having the quality of a dune; not a very good example, but damn it all if it isn’t too early for that). Then I decided I’d never keep it up. Kudos to anyone who can keep a meme going for longer than a few weeks; maybe I should begin a nice and simple FRT to ease me in?

  5. Brady says:

    Actually, his name was Thanos, not Thanatos, but you’re absolutely right about the etymology of his name: not only was he a cosmic mass murderer, but he worshipped/was doing the female personification of Death.

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