Word of the Day : March 13, 2011


adjective her-MET-ik


1 : relating to or characterized by occultism or abstruseness : recondite

2 a : airtight

b : impervious to external influence

c : recluse, solitary

Did You Know?

"Hermetic" derives from Greek via the Medieval Latin word "hermeticus." When it first entered English in the early 17th century, "hermetic" was associated with writings attributed to Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom. Thoth, whom the Greeks called Hermes Trismegistus ("thrice-great Hermes"), was believed to be the author of a number of mystical, philosophical, and alchemistic works. The obscure subject matter of these works may have made them difficult to wade through, for soon English speakers were also applying "hermetic" to things that were beyond ordinary human comprehension. Additionally, Hermes Trismegistus was said to have invented a magic seal that could keep vessels airtight. "Hermetic" thus came to mean "airtight," both literally and figuratively. These days, it can also sometimes mean "recluse" or "solitary."


The infomercial claimed that the new containers used modern technology to guarantee a hermetic seal that would keep food fresh for months.

"Is all the Oscar buzz and fascination with 'Black Swan' -- Darren Aronofsky's decidedly lurid look at the hermetic world of classical ballet -- boosting ticket sales for live 'Swan Lake' performances?" -- From an article in the Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2011

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "snaffle," our Word of the Day from February 24, 2011? The answer is ...


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