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  • Augean stable
  • audio pronunciation
  • \aw-JEE-un-STAY-bul\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: a condition or place marked by great accumulation of filth or corruption
  • EXAMPLES

The presidency of Ulysses S. Grant was marred by his refusal to clean out the Augean stables of his own administration.

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Augean stable" most often appears in the phrase "clean the Augean stable," which usually means "clear away corruption" or "perform a large and unpleasant task that has long called for attention." Augeas, the mythical king of Elis, kept great stables that held 3,000 oxen and had not been cleaned for thirty years -- until Hercules was assigned the job. Hercules accomplished this task by causing two rivers to run through the stables. The word "Augean" is sometimes used by itself, too -- it has come to mean "extremely difficult and usually distasteful." We can refer to "Augean tasks," "Augean labor," or even "Augean clutter."

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