Word of The Day for Wednesday, March 2, 2011


hag•i•ar•chy (HAG-ee-ahr-kee, HEY-jee-)  n

1.  government by saints, holy persons, or people in holy orders
2. a state so governed
3. (ecclesiastical term) an order of saints

1820–30; from Gk hagi- from hagios "holy"   + -archy "rule," from L. -archia, from Gk. -arkhia, from arkhos "leader, chief, ruler," from arkhe "beginning, origin, first place"

Synonyms: hagiocracy
Related Words: hagiography

Sentence Examples:
• Nowhere was the crystallization of form and principle more pronounced than in religious life, which fastened upon the mother country a deadening weight that hampered all progress, and in the colonies, notably in the Philippines, virtually converted her government into a hagiarchy that had its face toward the past and either could not or would not move with the current of the times. -The Social Cancer, José  Rizal

• He became so renowned as a bringer of gifts that when the Reformation banished most of the saints he was allowed to stay behind, still working his annual miracle of generosity. The children kept him, in spite of the protests of reformers, as the darling of the old hagiarchy. In the United States he is the only saint, outside of the Roman communion, who survives at all. -The Nation, 1919

• Gerard did not know that he had rifled a shrine of the Panchpiryas. How should he? He did not know that such a sect existed. Had he heard of them he might perhaps have guessed from their name that they worshipped five saints, in which case he would not have taken one, leaving a diminished hagiarchy. -Living age, Eliakim Littell & Robert S. Littell

Sources: Free Dictionary

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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