myrmidon (n.) Look up myrmidon at
c. 1400, from Latin Myrmidones (plural), from Greek Myrmidones, Thessalian tribe led by Achilles to the Trojan War, fabled to have been ants changed into men, and often derived from Greek myrmex "ant" (from PIE *morwi- (see Formica (2)), but Watkins does not connect them and Klein's sources suggest a connection to Greek mormos "dread, terror." Transferred sense of "faithful follower" is from c. 1600.
myrrh (n.) Look up myrrh at
Old English myrre, from Latin myrrha (also source of Dutch mirre, German Myrrhe, French myrrhe, Italian, Spanish mirra), from Greek myrrha, from a Semitic source (compare Akkadian murru, Hebrew mor, Arabic murr "myrrh"), from a root meaning "was bitter."
myrtle (n.) Look up myrtle at
c. 1400, from Old French mirtile, from Medieval Latin myrtillus, diminutive of Latin myrtus "myrtle tree," from Greek myrtos "the myrtle, a sprig of myrtle," from same Semitic source as Greek myrrha (see myrrh).
myself (pron.) Look up myself at
c. 1500, alteration of meself, from Old English phrase (ic) me self, where me is "a kind of ethical dative" [OED], altered in Middle Ages from meself on analogy of herself, with her- felt as genitive; though analogous hisself remains bad form.
mysophobia (n.) Look up mysophobia at
"dread of dirt or defilement," 1879, from Greek mysos "uncleanliness," from PIE *meus- "damp" (see moss) + -phobia.
MySpace Look up MySpace at
social networking Web site, founded in late 2003.
mystagogue (n.) Look up mystagogue at
"person who initiates into mysteries," 1550s, from Latin mystagogus "a guide to the mysteries," from Greek mystagogos, from mystes "one initiated into the mysteries" (see mystery (n.1)) + agogos "leading, a leader" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). Related: Mystagogic; mystagogical; mystagogy; mystagoguery.
mysterious (adj.) Look up mysterious at
1610s, "full of mystery," from Latin mysterium (see mystery (n.1)) + -ous. Related: Mysteriously; mysteriousness. Earlier in same sense was mysterial (early 15c.), from Late Latin mysterialis.
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm
[Cowper, from the "Olney Hymns," 1779]
mystery (n.1) Look up mystery at
early 14c., in a theological sense, "religious truth via divine revelation, hidden spiritual significance, mystical truth," from Anglo-French *misterie, Old French mistere "secret, mystery, hidden meaning" (Modern French mystère), from Latin mysterium "secret rite, secret worship; a secret thing," from Greek mysterion (usually in plural mysteria) "secret rite or doctrine," from mystes "one who has been initiated," from myein "to close, shut" (see mute (adj.)); perhaps referring to the lips (in secrecy) or to the eyes (only initiates were allowed to see the sacred rites).

The Greek word was used in Septuagint for "secret counsel of God," translated in Vulgate as sacramentum. Non-theological use in English, "a hidden or secret thing," is from late 14c. In reference to the ancient rites of Greece, Egypt, etc. it is attested from 1640s. Meaning "detective story" first recorded in English 1908.
mystery (n.2) Look up mystery at
"handicraft, trade, art" (archaic), late 14c., from Medieval Latin misterium, alteration of Latin ministerium "service, occupation, office, ministry" (see ministry), influenced in form by Medieval Latin mysterium (see mystery (n.1)) and in sense by maistrie "mastery." Now only in mystery play, in reference to the medieval performances, which often were staged by members of craft guilds. The two senses of mystery formed a common pun in (secular) Tudor theater.
mystic (n.) Look up mystic at
"exponent of mystical theology," 1670s, from mystic (adj.). In Middle English, the noun meant "symbolic meaning, interpretation" (early 14c.).
Mystic Look up Mystic at
place name in Connecticut, U.S., deformed from Algonquian missituk "great tidal river," from missi "large" + -tuk "tidal river."
mystic (adj.) Look up mystic at
late 14c., "spiritually allegorical, pertaining to mysteries of faith," from Old French mistique "mysterious, full of mystery" (14c.), or directly from Latin mysticus "mystical, mystic, of secret rites" (source also of Italian mistico, Spanish mistico), from Greek mystikos "secret, mystic, connected with the mysteries," from mystes "one who has been initiated" (see mystery (n.1)). Meaning "pertaining to occult practices or ancient religions" first recorded 1610s.
mystical (adj.) Look up mystical at
late 15c., "enigmatic, obscure, symbolic," from mystic + -al (1). Related: Mystically. Meaning "having spiritual significance" is from 1520s.
mysticism (n.) Look up mysticism at
1736, from mystic (adj.) + -ism.
mystification (n.) Look up mystification at
1815, from French mystification, noun of action from mystifier (see mystify).
mystified (adj.) Look up mystified at
"bewildered, puzzled," 1863, past participle adjective from mystify.
mystify (v.) Look up mystify at
1814, from French mystifier (1772), a verb formed irregularly from mystique "mysterious" (see mystic (adj.)) + -fier "to make" (see -fy). Related: Mystified; mystifying.
mystique (n.) Look up mystique at
1891, "atmosphere of mystery," from French mystique "a mystic; mystical," from Latin mysticus (see mystic (adj.)).
myth (n.) Look up myth at
1830, from French Mythe (1818) and directly from Modern Latin mythus, from Greek mythos "speech, thought, story, myth, anything delivered by word of mouth," of unknown origin.
Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254]
General sense of "untrue story, rumor" is from 1840.
mythic (adj.) Look up mythic at
1660s, from Late Latin mythicus "legendary," from Greek mythikos, from mythos (see myth).
mythical (adj.) Look up mythical at
1670s; see mythic + -al (1).
mythological (adj.) Look up mythological at
1610s, from Late Latin mythologicus, from Greek mythologikos "versed in legendary lore," from mythologia (see mythology). Related: Mythologically.
mythology (n.) Look up mythology at
early 15c., "exposition of myths," from Middle French mythologie and directly from Late Latin mythologia, from Greek mythologia "legendary lore, a telling of mythic legends; a legend, story, tale," from mythos "myth" (of unknown origin) + -logy "study." Meaning "a body of myths" first recorded 1781.
mythopoeic (adj.) Look up mythopoeic at
"pertaining to the creation of myths," 1846, from Greek mytho-, comb. form of mythos (see myth) + poiein "to make, create" (see poet).
myxo- Look up myxo- at
before vowels myx-, word-forming element meaning "slime, mucus," from Greek myxa "mucus; lamp wick" (see mucus).