May 07, 2013
- aegis (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : the act of protecting : defense2 : the support or influence of a patron : sponsorship
- How do you use it?
- Jordan's love of storytelling developed as a result of a summer writing program that was held under the aegis of the local library.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Aegis" comes from a Greek word that literally meant something that might have been found in everyday life in ancient Greece. Which one of these words do you think is the literal meaning of the Greek parent of "aegis"?In ancient Greece, the word "aigis" (the ancestor of "aegis") literally meant "goatskin." However, it usually referred to something that was not an everyday item: a protective cloak (probably made of goat hide) or perhaps to a shield brandished by the god Zeus. Sometimes he entrusted the aegis to other deities, especially his daughter Athena. According to the poet Homer, the center of the aegis bore an image of the Gorgon Medusa's head, and its border was decorated with golden fringe. Many later English writers made reference to the aegis in their works, and by the 18th century, "aegis" was being used figuratively for other kinds of absolute protection.