myrmidon

play
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

myrmidon was our Word of the Day on 09/11/2016. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of myrmidon from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of myrmidon

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

Other Mythology and Folklore Terms


Learn More about myrmidon


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up myrmidon? 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?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!