• palladium •
pê-lay-di-êm • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A charm or talisman believed to have the power to preserve a city or state possessing it. 2. A source of protection, a protective guardian or guarantee. 3. A hard, ductile, metallic element resembling silver; Atomic No. 46.
Notes: When you feel as though you must establish your literacy, use the plural form palladia for today's Good Word. If you are just sitting around 'chilling' with your friends, use palladiums. This word has no relatives except in the sense of the metal: palladiferous "containing palladium" and palladiumize "to coat with palladium".
In Play: Today's Good Word is a popular name for theaters and concert halls across the US. "Playing the Palladium" from Hollywood to New York was a mark of distinction for performers in the 30s and 40s and continues to some extent today. The Stone of Scone is considered by many the palladium of Scottish freedom. It was captured by Edward I in 1296 and ensconced in the coronation throne of England until returned to Scotland in 1996. The Bill of Rights is the palladium of American civil liberties.
Word History: This Good Word is Latin Palladium, taken from Greek Palladion, from Pallas (originally Pallads), whose stem is Pallad-. Pallas was a member of the race of giants who tried to capture Mount Olympus. Various Greek gods and demigods defended Olympus. The giant Pallas was slain by Athena, the goddess of wisdom and civilization, and the protector of cities. After that, she was often referred to as "Athena Pallas" or just "Pallas". The Palladion was a sacred sculpture of Athena located in Troy believed to protect the city from attack.