View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
Definition of PERSEPHONE
: a daughter of Zeus and Demeter abducted by Pluto to reign with him over the underworld
Origin of PERSEPHONE
Latin, from Greek Persephonē
First Known Use: 1567
Pluto and Proserpina, marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, —AndersonAlinari/Art Resource, New York
In Greek mythology, daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was gathering flowers when she was seized by Hades, who carried her off to the underworld to make her his wife. On learning of the abduction, Demeter was so distraught that she allowed barrenness and famine to spread over the earth. Zeus commanded Hades to allow Persephone to return to her mother, but because she had eaten some (or, in some versions, just one) pomegranate seeds in the underworld, she had to remain one-third of the year with Hades, spending the other two-thirds with Demeter. This myth accounts for the change of the seasons and the annual cycle of growth and decay.