myrmidon

noun

myr·​mi·​don ˈmər-mə-ˌdän How to pronounce myrmidon (audio)
-dən
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

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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 The message from the leftist Democrats and their odious myrmidons in the media, Hollywood, academia, Big Tech, et al is thus: Agree with our narrative or be destroyed. Voice Of The People, New York Daily News, 3 June 2024 In the pending merger of Sprint and T-Mobile, our myrmidons have a chance to do better. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, 11 May 2018 OK, first of all, George III didn't have myrmidons. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 20 Mar. 2014

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'myrmidon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Cite this Entry

“Myrmidon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myrmidon. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

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