Pro·​me·​the·​an | \ prə-ˈmē-thē-ən How to pronounce Promethean (audio) \

Definition of Promethean

: of, relating to, or resembling Prometheus, his experiences, or his art especially : daringly original or creative

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As some versions of the story go in Greek mythology, Prometheus (one of the Titan giants) modeled humans from clay and then taught them agriculture and all the arts of civilization. He also stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. So inventive was he that anything that bears the stamp of creativity and originality can still be called Promethean. Zeus, however, had wanted the human race to perish, so Prometheus' actions were also disobedient. Hence Promethean can also mean defiant of authority or limits. As punishment for his disobedience, Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock where an eagle daily tore at his liver. Thus, any suffering on a grand scale can also be called Promethean - though this sense is not as common as the others.

Examples of Promethean in a Sentence

it is only through the efforts of a Promethean pioneer that an art form advances

First Known Use of Promethean

1594, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of Promethean was in 1594

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Cite this Entry

“Promethean.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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