• argus •
ahr-gês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A watchful person, a guard or guardian, a lookout.
Notes: No doubt because of the rarity of its use, today's Good Word is virtually a lexical orphan. Someone on the Web claims that they "argusly monitor national and international news", using a correctly formed adverb that could be used as an adjective, paralleling friendly, manly, and the like. This word has been used in two compounds in the past, argus-eyed and argus-like.
In Play: There is no better guardian of our property than an argus: "Don't worry about the car, dad: I'll keep an argus-eyed watch on it whether I'm in it or not." Of course, this word may be used sarcastically: "My store was robbed while the two arguses I hired to guard it at night were watching TV."
Word History: Today's Good Word is an eponym of Argos, a giant in Greek mythology who had a hundred eyes, no more than two of which were closed at the same time. He was therefore the perfect guard. When he was killed by Hermes, the goddess Hera gave his eyes to her favorite bird, the peacock.
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