Word of The Day for Wednesday, May 25, 2011


i•chor (AHY-kawr)  n

1. the rarefied fluid said to run in the veins of the gods in Classical Mythology
2. a watery, acrid discharge from a wound or ulcer (pathology)


1630s; from Greek ikhor, of unknown origin, possibly from a non-I.E. language

Sentence Examples:
• Poetry sheds no tears ‘such as Angels weep’, but natural and human tears; she can boast of no celestial ichor that distinguishes her vital juices from those of prose; the same human blood circulates through the veins of them both. - English Critical Essays

• In the Egyptian mind, at all events, it was a belief that was deeply implanted. The Pharaoh was a god upon earth. Like the Incas of Peru, he belonged to the solar race, and the blood which flowed in his veins was the ichor of the gods. - The Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, Archibald Henry Sayce

• On examining the back, there was an ulcer situated on the spine, just below the shoulder, which discharged a thin whitish ichor.  - Observations on the Causes, Symptoms, and Nature of Scrofula or King's Evil, Scurvy, and Cancer, John Kent


Ichor originates in Greek mythology, where it is the ethereal fluid that is the Greek gods' blood, sometimes said to retain the qualities of the immortal's food and drink, ambrosia or nectar. It was considered to be golden in color. Great demigods and heroes occasionally attacked gods and released ichor, but gods rarely did so to each other in Homeric myth.

Sources: Free Dictionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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