Word: Elysian

Pronunciation: i-LI-zhən / i-LEE-zhən

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: of, relating to, or characteristic of heaven or paradise

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Is it really the last week of the year? Where does the time go? As I thought about what word I should feature for the final Word of the Week of 2015, I realized that a particularly beautiful one had recently been brought to my attention when I started playing the indie game Dust: An Elysian Tail. Fascinated by how lovely the word “Elysian” sounded, I decided that it would make a perfect closer for this year’s vocabulary posts. After all, as we start the journey into a new year, why not leave the old one behind with peaceful thoughts of the divine?

“Elysian” describes what is heavenly and paradisiacal in nature. The word is the anglicized form of the Latin noun Elysium, meaning “a place or state of perfect happiness”. This noun derives from the Greek noun Ēlúsion (pedíon), a mythical plain of existence believed to be the home of the blessed after death.

Fun fact: “Elysian” is the first vocabulary word I’ve featured on my blog that’s capitalized, as it stems from the name of a place in Classical mythology. You may also be familiar with the word’s Latin form thanks to the 2013 futuristic sci-fi film Elysium, the eponymous Elysium being the utopian space habitat created as a haven from the overpopulated Earth. I have yet to see this word often in fiction, though I would certainly use it as a more poetic alternative to “divine” and its other synonyms. If you like to write about heavenly places and things, you may enjoy including some “Elysian” details in your stories! Have fun, and Happy New Year!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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