Printable Version
Pronunciation: dee-mê-gor-gên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A terrifying classical demon of the underworld. 2. Anyone or anything beyond terrifying or horrible.

Notes: Demogorgon is a useful metaphor for Satan or the devil. Some prefer to capitalize the word, Demogorgon. The adjective is demogorgonian [di-mê-gêr-go-ni-ên]. It has no siblings or relatives in a larger family, though gorgon does.

In Play: Since the original word referred to a mythological creature, let's focus only on figurative usages: "Elsbeth seems to have entirely abandoned tailordom, or 'Demogorgon', as she was pleased to call it." Elsewise: "Dimly distinguishable amidst the culinary chaos, the master chef, the demogorgon of the kitchen, commanded and countermanded his poor underlings."

Word History: The constituents of today's compound noun are recognizable, but there is a missing link in its history. The word was created as a Latin word borrowed from Greek. The original constituents should have been daimon "god" + gorgos "grim, terrible", but no such compound can be found in Greek or Latin. When Latin borrowed the first word, it transliterated it as daemon later demon. Demogorgon was most likely created by a Christian scholar around 350-400 AD. Greek daimon was originally an extended form of PIE da- "divide, share" + -mon, perhaps a word meaning "provider". Da- shows up in Russian dat' "to give", Serbian dati "to give", Sanskrit dati "cuts, divides", Persian das "sickle", Greek daiomai "divide, share". The origin of gorgos "grim", terrible" is unknown, though there are a few words that suggest an original PIE word, like Old Irish garg "raw, wild", Russian groznyi "terrible" (as in Ivan Groznyi "Ivan the Terrible"), and Armenian karer "hard". (Now a word of thanks to wordmaster and active Agoran George Kovac for suggesting today's highly unlikely Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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