late 14c., "one of the nine Muses of classical mythology," daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, protectors of the arts; from Old French Muse and directly from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa, "the Muse," also "music, song," ultimately from PIE root *men- (1) "to think." Meaning "inspiring goddess of a particular poet" (with a lower-case m-) is from late 14c.
The traditional names and specialties of the nine Muses are: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (love poetry, lyric art), Euterpe (music, especially flute), Melpomene (tragedy), Polymnia (hymns), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), Urania (astronomy).
"of, pertaining to, or resembling in any way Prometheus," 1580s, from Prometheus (q.v.) + -an. Before the introduction of modern matches (see lucifer), promethean was the name given (1830) to small glass tubes full of sulphuric acid, surrounded by an inflammable mixture, which ignited when pressed and afforded a ready light. Related: Prometheans.
Prometheans are small glass bulbs, filled with concentrated sulphuric acid, and hermetically sealed, and surrounded with a mixture of inflammable materials, amongst which the chlorate of potash forms one ; and the whole being again inclosed or surrounded with paper, also rendered still more inflammable by means of resinous matters. Upon pinching the end containing the glass bulb, between the jaws of a pair of pliers, the bulb breaks, and the sulphuric acid instantly kindles the surrounding materials. ["Arcana of Science and Art," London, 1830]
1879 as colloquial shortening of Metropolitan (n.) "member of the New York Metropolitan Base-Ball Club."
THE baseball season has opened, and along with the twittering of the birds, the budding of the trees, and the clattering of the truck, comes the news that the "Mets were beaten yesterday 17 to 5." It is an infallible sign of spring when the Mets are beaten 17 to 5, and we invariably put on our thinner clothing when we read that refreshing, though perennial news in the papers. [Life magazine, May 12, 1887]
Used variously to abbreviate other proper names beginning with Metropolitan, such as "Metropolitan Museum of Art" (N.Y.), by 1919; "Metropolitan Railway" (stock), by 1890; "Metropolitan Opera Company (N.Y.), by 1922. Related: Mets.
Aquarians were a former Christian sect that used water instead of wine at the Lord's Supper. Aquarian Age (alluded to from 1913) is an astrological epoch (based on precession of the equinoxes) supposed to have begun in the 20th century (though in one estimate, 1848), embodying the traits of this sign and characterized by world peace and human brotherhood. It would last approximately 2,160 years. The term and the concept probably got a boost in popular use from the rock song Age of Aquarius (1967) and when An Aquarian Exposition was used as the sub-name of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair (1969).
sea-nymph, in Greek mythology, late 14c., Nereides (plural), via Latin from Greek Nēreis (genitive Nēreidos), daughter of the ancient sea-god Nēreus, son of Pontus and Gaia, husband of Doris, whose name is related to naros "flowing, liquid, I flow" (see Naiad). In zoology, "a sea-centipede" (1840).
The most famous among them were Amphitrite, Thetis, and Galatea. The Nereids were beautiful maidens helpful to voyagers, and constituted the main body of the female, as the Tritons did of the male, followers of Poseidon or Neptune. They were imagined as dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, wooed by the Tritons, and passing in long processions over the sea seated on hippocamps and other sea-monsters. Monuments of ancient art represent them lightly draped or nude, in poses characterized by undulating lines harmonizing with those the ocean, and often riding on sea-monsters of fantastic forms. [Century Dictionary]
Old English Lucifer "Satan," also "morning star, Venus in the morning sky before sunrise," also an epithet or name of Diana, from Latin Lucifer "morning star," noun use of adjective, literally "light-bringing," from lux (genitive lucis) "light" (from PIE root *leuk- "light, brightness") + ferre "to carry, bear," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children." Venus in the evening sky was Hesperus.
Belief that it was the proper name of Satan began with its use in Bible to translate Greek Phosphoros, which translates Hebrew Helel ben Shahar in Isaiah xiv.12 — "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" [KJV] Because of the mention of a fall from Heaven, the verse was interpreted spiritually by Christians as a reference to Satan, even though it is literally a reference to the King of Babylon (see Isaiah xiv.4). Sometimes rendered daystar in later translations.
As "friction match," 1831, short for Lucifer match (1831). Among the 16c. adjectival forms were Luciferian, Luciferine, Luciferous. There was a noted Bishop Lucifer of Cagliari in Sardinia in the 4th century, a strict anti-Arian regarded locally as a saint.