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Word of the Day
Thursday, March 08, 2018

Definitions for Minerva

  1. a woman of great wisdom.
  2. the ancient Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts, identified with the Greek goddess Athena.
  3. a female given name.

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Citations for Minerva
God, it seems like I'll always have a Minerva by my side being a better person than I am. Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies, 1994
The notion of such a Minerva as this, whom I saw in public places now and then, surrounded by swarms of needy abbés and schoolmasters, who flattered her, frightened me for some time, and I had not the least desire to make her acquaintance. William Makepeace Thackeray, "The Luck of Barry Lyndon: A Romance of the Last Century," Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country, Volume XXX, July to December, 1844
Origin of Minerva
The Roman goddess Minerva is so completely identified with the Greek goddess Athena that it is difficult to discern what is “native” to Minerva. Minerva (earlier Latin spelling Menerva) was a native Italian goddess of handicrafts (hence easily identified with Athena in that respect). The name Minerva (Menerva) may be of Indo-European origin, from the root men- “to think, bear in mind,” source of English mind, Latin meminī “I remember,” and Greek Méntōr, a proper name meaning “adviser.” The original Latin name will have been Meneswā “intelligent, wise (woman),” related to Sanskrit manasvin “wise” and Manasvinī, the name of the mother of the moon. Alternatively, Meneswā may mean “woman who measures (the phases of the moon),” from the Proto-Indo-European root mē- “to measure,” source of English meal (a Germanic word), as in piecemeal, measure (from Latin), and Greek metron "measure," the source of the English suffix -meter, among other words. Minerva as the name of the goddess entered English in the Old English period; the sense "wise woman" dates from the late 18th century.
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