also Aeolean, c. 1600, "of the wind," from Latin Æolus "god of the winds," from Greek Aiolos "lord of the winds," literally "the Rapid," or "the Changeable," from aiolos "quickly moving," also "changeful, shifting, varied" (an adjective used of wasps, serpents, flickering stars, clouds, sounds).
The Aeolian harp (the phrase is attested from 1791) was made of tuned strings set in a frame; passing breezes caused them to sound harmoniously. Another name for it was anemochord (1832). The ancient district of Aiolis in Asia Minor was said to have been named for the wind god, hence Aeolian also refers to one branch of the ancient Greek people.
updated on September 15, 2022