ga·​lea | \ ˈgā-lē-ə How to pronounce galea (audio) \

Definition of galea

: an anatomical part suggesting a helmet

First Known Use of galea

1823, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for galea

borrowed from New Latin, going back to Latin, "helmet" (probably originally of leather, in contrast to cassis), borrowed from Greek galéē "weasel, marten," earlier probably "weasel skin," from gal- "weasel" (of uncertain origin) + -eē, suffix used in names of animal skins (as aigéā "goatskin," alōpēkéē "skin of a fox")

Note: The Latin shift in the meaning of the Greek word is explained by the presumed custom of decorating helmets with the skin of a small carnivore, whose ferocity was hence magically transferred to the helmetʼs wearer; the meaning "helmet" is hypothetical in Greek, though not improbable (compare kynéē "helmet made from a dog skin").

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The first known use of galea was in 1823

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Cite this Entry

“Galea.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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ga·​lea | \ ˈgāl-ē-a How to pronounce galea (audio) , ˈgal- How to pronounce galea (audio) \

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