• Europe •
Part of Speech: Noun, proper
Meaning: One of the seven major continents of Earth, stretching from the eastern rim of the Atlantic Ocean north of Africa, to the Bosporus in Turkey and Ural Mountains in Russia.
Notes: The adjective for today?s word is, of course, European. Because it refers to a peoples, no adverb or noun should be possible, but Europeanness is understandable and has been used more than once.
In Play: Although we still do not see a United States of Europe among the family of nations, the plethora of new words containing Euro flooding European languages demonstrates how strong the sense of unity is. There is Eurovision which broadcasts the Euronews, Euroinvestors who buy Euroequities, even Eurotrash who often buy Eurojunk (bonds). Only Eurocommunism shows any sign of disintegrating. The name of the new pan-European monetary unit, the Euro, was clipped from Europe as a stand-alone word.
Word History: The eponym of this Good Word was, Europa, a lovely woman in Greek mythology from the Levant, the area occupied today by Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. One myth has Europa seduced by the god Zeus in the form of a bull and carried away to the island of Crete on his back. According to Herodotus, however, she was kidnapped by Minoans, who likewise were said to have taken her to Crete. Either way, the mythical Europa cannot be separated from the mythology of the sacred bull, which was worshipped in the Levant. The etymology of her name, euru- "wide, broad" + op- "eye(s)", suggests that Europa represented a cow at some symbolic level.
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