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halcyon

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noun hal·cy·on \ˈhal-sē-ən\

Definition of halcyon

  1. 1 :  a bird identified with the kingfisher and held in ancient legend to nest at sea about the time of the winter solstice and to calm the waves during incubation

  2. 2 :  kingfisher

halcyon was our Word of the Day on 06/03/2012. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of halcyon

Middle English alceon, from Latin halcyon, from Greek alkyōn, halkyōn


First Known Use: 14th century

Other Mythology and Folklore Terms


2

halcyon

adjective hal·cy·on

Definition of halcyon

  1. 1 :  of or relating to the halcyon (see 1halcyon) or its nesting period

  2. 2a :  calm, peaceful a halcyon atmosphereb :  happy, golden a halcyon era the halcyon days of youthc :  prosperous, affluent

Examples of halcyon in a sentence

  1. a halcyon era following the American Civil War

  2. during those early halcyon years the company's potential for growth seemed unlimited

Did You Know?

According to Greek mythology, Alkyone, the daughter of the god of the winds, became so distraught when she learned that her husband had been killed in a shipwreck that she threw herself into the sea and was changed into a kingfisher. As a result, ancient Greeks called such birds alkyon or halkyon. The legend also says that such birds built floating nests on the sea, where they so charmed the wind god that he created a period of unusual calm that lasted until the birds' eggs hatched. This legend prompted people to use halcyon both as a noun naming a genus of kingfisher and as an adjective meaning either "of or relating to the kingfisher or its nesting period" or calm.

Origin and Etymology of halcyon

see 1halcyon


First Known Use: 1601

Other Mythology and Folklore Terms


HALCYON Defined for English Language Learners


2

halcyon

adjective hal·cy·on

Definition of halcyon for English Language Learners

  • : very happy and successful


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