Word of the Day: Empyreal
1 : of or relating to the heavens or firmament : celestial
2 : sublime
Night after night, the comet shone brightly against the empyreal tapestry of the sky.
“A jar made in Iraq, Syria or Iran, its shape is nothing special, but its color—an empyreal sapphire blue, a version of which will later adorn the domes of Safavid mosques—is out of this world.” — Holland Cotter, The New York Times, 24 Dec. 2004
Did You Know?
Empyreal can be traced back to the Greek word for “fiery,” empyros, which was formed from the prefix em– (“in,” “within,” or “inside”) and –pyros, from pyr, the Greek word for “fire.” When empyreal entered the English language—via the Late Latin empyreus or empyrius—in the 15th century, it specifically referred to things related to the empyrean, the highest heaven or outermost heavenly sphere of ancient and medieval cosmology, which was often thought to contain or be composed of the element of fire. In the works of Christian writers—such as Dante’s Divine Comedy and John Milton’s Paradise Lost—this outermost heavenly sphere was associated with the Christian paradise. Empyreal is now also used more broadly in the senses of “celestial” and “sublime.”
Noticing that Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day was Empyreal, impressed my soul. It’s a great word, one that I haven’t used in a very long time. I should. To me, it is an elegant word, conveying a kind of sexiness in its meaning.
I have got to figure out a way to incorporate it into one of my stories. Perhaps have Mona gaze at the night sky and appreciate its celestial beauty. Since I am a person, who relishes the star-filled the sky, imagining traveling up there, between stars, meeting new civilizations, and just appreciating what the heavens offer, as far back as I can remember, I travel the stars in awe of their beauty and danger.
Of course, when I did a Google image lookup, I wasn’t surprised on how many images it returned related to the word. Cool, eh?
What do you think about the word? What does it mean to you?
I may just look up the M-W word of the day on a regular basis and share it with you. Until next time, this is Richard Verry, bringing you the latest.
Word of the Day brought to you by Merriam-Webster.