Etymology
Advertisement
Byronic (adj.)

1823, pertaining to, characteristic of, or resembling British poet George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron (1788-1824) or his poetry.

Perfect she was, but as perfection is
  Insipid in this naughty world of ours,
Where our first parents never learn'd to kiss
  Till they were exiled from their earlier bowers,
Where all was peace, and innocence, and bliss
  (I wonder how they got through the twelve hours),
Don Jose like a lineal son of Eve,
  Went plucking various fruit without her leave.
[from "Don Juan"]
It was on the Continent that Byron was influential, and it is not in England that his spiritual progeny is to be sought. To most of us, his verse seems often poor and his sentiment often tawdry, but abroad his way of feeling and his outlook on life were transmitted and developed and transmuted until they became so wide-spread as to be factors in great events. [Bertrand Russell, "A History of Western Philosophy," 1945]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Rasputin 

acquired name (Russian, literally "debauchee") of Grigory Yefimovich Novykh (c. 1872-1916), mystic and faith healer who held sway over court of Nicholas II of Russia. His nickname is from his doctrine of "rebirth through sin," that true holy communion must be preceded by immersion in sin. His name has been used figuratively in English from 1937 for anyone felt to wield an insidious and corrupting influence.

Related entries & more 
Protean (adj.)

"of or pertaining to the Greek sea-god Proteus," 1590s, from Greek Prōteus, son of Oceanus and Tethys, who could change his form at will; hence, "readily assuming different shapes, exceedingly variable." His name is literally "first," from prōtos "first" (see proto-).

Related entries & more 
Roosevelt 

the presidential family in America originally bore the name Van Roosevelt, "of the field of roses," descriptive of their estates in Holland. Claes Martenszen Van Rosenvelt, emigrated to New Amsterdam 1649. His son (1653) and all his descendants dropped the "Van." Related: Rooseveltian.

Related entries & more 
abstracted (adj.)

"absent in mind, distracted from present reality by intellectual activity," 1640s, past-participle adjective from abstract (v.). Related: Abstractedly.

An absent man is one whose mind wanders unconsciously from his immediate surroundings, or from the topic which demands his attention; he may be thinking of little or nothing. An abstracted man is kept from what is present by thoughts and feelings so weighty or interesting that they engross his attention. [Century Dictionary]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
neck-verse (n.)

some printed Latin text (usually Psalms li.1) "set by the ordinary of a prison before a malefactor claiming benefit of clergy, in order to test his ability to read. If the ordinary or his deputy said legit ut clericus (he reads like a clerk or scholar), the malefactor was burned in the hand and set free, thus saving his neck" [Century Dictionary]. See neck (n.) + verse (n.).

Related entries & more 
tantalize (v.)

"to tease or torment by presenting something desirable to the view, and frustrating expectation by keeping it out of reach," 1590s, with -ize + Latin Tantalus, from Greek Tantalos, name of a mythical king of Phrygia in Asia Minor, son of Zeus, father of Pelops and Niobe, famous for his riches, punished in the afterlife (for an offense variously given) by being made to stand in a river up to his chin, under branches laden with fruit, all of which withdrew from his reach whenever he tried to eat or drink. His story was known to Chaucer (c. 1369). Related: Tantalized; tantalizing; tantalizingly; tantalization.

Related entries & more 
toady (n.)
"servile parasite," 1826, apparently shortened from toad-eater "fawning flatterer" (1742), originally (1620s) "the assistant of a charlatan," who ate a toad (believed to be poisonous) to enable his master to display his skill in expelling the poison. The verb is recorded from 1827. Related: Toadied; toadying.
Related entries & more 
Aegean 
sea between Greece and Asia Minor, 1570s, traditionally named for Aegeus, father of Theseus, who threw himself to his death in it when he thought his son had perished; but perhaps from Greek aiges "waves," a word of unknown origin.
Related entries & more 
Hades 

"god of the dead in Greek mythology;" also the name of his realm, the abode of the dead spirits, 1590s, from Greek Haidēs, in Homer the name of the god of the underworld, son of Kronos and Rhea, brother of Zeus and Poseidon. His name is of unknown origin. Perhaps literally "the invisible" [Watkins], from privative prefix a- + idein "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"). The name of the god was extended in later Greek writing to his kingdom, also "the grave, death." Related: Hadal (adj.), 1964; Hadean.

Related entries & more 

Page 4