myrmidon

noun
myr·​mi·​don | \ˈmər-mə-ˌdän, -dən\

Definition of myrmidon 

1 capitalized : a member of a legendary Thessalian people who accompanied their king Achilles in the Trojan War

2 : a loyal follower especially : a subordinate who executes orders unquestioningly or unscrupulously

Keep scrolling for more

Myrmidon and Ants

The Myrmidons, legendary inhabitants of Thessaly in Greece, were known for their fierce devotion to Achilles, the king who led them in the Trojan War. Myrmex means "ant" in Greek, an image that evokes small and insignificant workers mindlessly fulfilling their duties. Whether the original Myrmidons were given their name for that reason is open to question. The "ant" association is strong, however. Some say the name is from a legendary ancestor who once had the form of an ant; others say the Myrmidons were actually transformed from ants. In any case, since the 1400s, we've employed myrmidon in its not-always-complimentary, ant-evoking, figurative sense.

Examples of myrmidon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the pending merger of Sprint and T-Mobile, our myrmidons have a chance to do better. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Why the AT&T Case Suddenly Matters," 11 May 2018 OK, first of all, George III didn't have myrmidons. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "This Week In The Laboratories Of Democracy," 20 Mar. 2014

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

First Known Use of myrmidon

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for myrmidon

Middle English Mirmydon, Latin Myrmidon-, Myrmido, from Greek Myrmidōn

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about myrmidon

Listen to Our Podcast about myrmidon

Statistics for myrmidon

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for myrmidon

The first known use of myrmidon was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on myrmidon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with myrmidon

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about myrmidon

Comments on myrmidon

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
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!