Aesopian

adjective Ae·so·pi·an \ ē-ˈsō-pē-ən , -ˈsä- \
variants: or less commonly Aesopic play \-ˈsä-pik\

Definition of Aesopian

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of Aesop or his fables
2 : conveying an innocent meaning to an outsider but a hidden meaning to a member of a conspiracy or underground movement
  • Aesopian language

Aesopian was our Word of the Day on 10/17/2011. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Aesop’s fables are well-known. On the surface, they are entertaining stories, featuring animals who speak and act like humans. But they also have an underlying purpose, which is to teach a moral lesson. In the 20th century, Aesopian - which had previously meant simply "characteristic of Aesop or his fables" - took on an extended meaning. "Aesopian language" referred to the cryptic or ambiguous language authors used in subversive material, often to avoid censorship. This use originated in Russia with ezopovski, the Russian version of the term. Today, Aesopian occasionally means "having hidden meaning" without any implications of subversive political meaning or avoidance of censorship.

Origin and Etymology of aesopian

Aesopian, from Latin Aesōpīus (borrowed from Greek Aisṓpeios "of Aesop, legendary Greek fabulist," derivative of Aísōpos, Aesop) + 2-an; Aesopic borrowed from Late Latin Aesōpicus, borrowed from Greek Aisōpikós, from Aísōpos, Aesop + -ikos 1-ic


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