1

halcyon

play
noun hal·cy·on \ ˈhal-sē-ən \

Definition of halcyon

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

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

Recent Examples of halcyon from the Web

  • Vigorously sketched in thin but color-saturated oils, with lots of bare canvas, are details of suburban houses, appliances, and human and animal anatomy, some paying homage to the styles of Chicago’s halcyon Hairy Who.

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'halcyon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of halcyon

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

Other Mythology and Folklore Terms


2

halcyon

adjective

Definition of halcyon

1 :of or relating to the halcyon (see 1halcyon) or its nesting period
2 a :calm, peaceful
  • a halcyon atmosphere
b :happy, golden
  • a halcyon era
  • the halcyon days of youth

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

Recent Examples of halcyon from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'halcyon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

Other Mythology and Folklore Terms


HALCYON Defined for English Language Learners

halcyon

adjective

Definition of halcyon for English Language Learners

  • : very happy and successful


Learn More about halcyon


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up halcyon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

alert quickness of mind or body

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!