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MINION

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MINION

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:28 pm

• minion •

Pronunciation: min-yên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A servile obsequious toady; a brown-noser or slavish sycophant. 2. A favorite, teacher’s pet, someone's darling.

Notes: Even though we hear this word only rarely today, it comes to us with an abstract noun, minionism (or the even rarer minionship). The noun itself has been used as a verb, as to minion someone to your whims and fancies. I would recommend avoiding the suffix -ize; minionize changes the character of this otherwise lovely word too much.

In Play: Minion is used far more frequently in the first sense above than in the second: "When the boss arrived, surrounded by his minions and toadies, the meeting sailed far off its planned course." The second meaning is not far off the first, though, which keeps it viable: "The new finance officer, Gladys Friday, has become the president's minion and probably will get a big bonus and promotion this year."

Word History: Today’s Good Word is a variant of mignon "petite and pretty", as in filet mignon. In French and Italian the digraph GN is pronounced [ny], as we see in such borrowed words as poignant, lasagna, and cognac. However, English prefers to spell this sound as NI, hence the shift to minion. The French word shares its origin with French minet "little darling", a term of affection often used to address children and kitties. This word was originally mignot which, for reasons that remain mysterious, became mignon in some parts of France. It is this word that English has borrowed several times and in various forms over the course of its history. (Today's Good Word came from a suggestion by our enduring friend Margie Sved, no one's minion though she is one of our favorites.)
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Postby Slava » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:21 pm

A friend of mine has two children, one of them named Jasmine. His brother, their Uncle, calls them both his minions, tying in the name and a commanding tone.

I wonder if he knows the gentler meaning to this word?
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:04 pm

I hope you don't mean "toadies".
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Postby Slava » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:38 pm

More along the lines of servants, and jokingly, of course.

"Hey, minion, go get me a soda!"
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Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:18 pm

Demons are the minions of the Devil. Angles are the messengers of God.

I never have thought of toadies as being minions, but it might fit. I always get the feeling of great numbers when I hear minions. Toadies come easily in onesies and twosies.

I was surprised at the Good Doctor's definition 2 of minion.
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Postby Slava » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:31 am

Philip Hudson wrote:Demons are the minions of the Devil. Angles are the messengers of God.

Is this putting a new angle on angelic behavior? :?
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:27 am

Nope. It is the original definition.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:45 am

Angels are very interesting to me. I especially like the
so called Nine Choirs, and the various tasks assigned
to each choir. Seraphim stand before the Throne
in Praise, Angels are the "guardians", from what I
understand.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:06 pm

Much angelology is made up, often from mideval works. biblically seraphim can be translated as the "fiery ones," and these often have a serpent like character, perhaps winged sepents. "Cherubs" are not baby angels, but composite beasts, often with the body of a lion and a human head (the sphinx?). Also note that unless angels in the Bible appear as men, they strike fear in onlookers. Their usual first words are "do not fear."
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:20 pm

What's your take on the Thrones, Dominations,
Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and any I may
have missed?
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:53 pm

In Ephesians 6 Paul refers to most of that list, proclaiming Christ's superiority. Many scholars with whom I agree see this as an interface between Paul's Hebrew culture and Greek thought, perhaps neo-platonism. For the Greeks God was ineffable, unaware of anything beneath him. Yet his goodness and creativity overflowed, spilling out creations at various levels. About halfway down there was the Logos, who was a kind of mad scientist messing around in his lab with matter and spirit. Somehow the two got mixed and created the world. Greeks considered all the levels of existence between earth and God to be the dominions and powers. Some think Paul's mentioning them implies their reality. I doubt it. Rather I think rather than arguing about it, he's cutting through all that to proclaim Christ as Lord. The opening of John likewise addresses it: in the beginning was the logos and the logos was with God and the logos was God. Seems one cannot discuss words without bumping into context and culture!
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:25 pm

.....and of course bumping into all that is the
essence of Scripture study. All the ancient
philosophy meeting in the Levant and the Jews
enmeshed in the middle of it all.
Thanks for your opinion: makes a lot of sense
to me and I'm appreciative for your reply.
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