- Classical Mythology. a giant with 100 eyes, set to guard the heifer Io: his eyes were transferred after his death to the peacock's tail.
- a son of Phrixus and builder of the Argo.
- (in the Odyssey) Odysseus' faithful dog, who recognized his master after twenty years and immediately died.
- any observant or vigilant person; a watchful guardian.
- (lowercase) Also argus pheasant. any of several brilliantly marked Malayan pheasants of the Argusianus or Rheinardia genera.
Origin of Argus
- either of two pheasants, Argusianus argus (great argus) or Rheinardia ocellata (crested argus), occurring in SE Asia and Indonesia. The males have very long tails marked with eyelike spots
- any of various brown butterflies, esp the Scotch argus (Erebia aethiops) found on moorland and in forests up to a height of 2000 m
- Greek myth a giant with a hundred eyes who was made guardian of the heifer Io. After he was killed by Hermes his eyes were transferred to the peacock's tail
- a vigilant person; guardian
Word Origin and History for argus pheasant
hundred-eyed giant of Greek mythology, late 14c., from Latin, from Greek Argos, literally "the bright one," from argos "shining, bright" (see argent). His epithet was Panoptes "all-eyes." After his death, Hera transferred his eyes to the peacock's tail. Used in figurative sense of "very vigilant person."
A creature in classical mythology who had a hundred eyes. Hera set him to watch over Io, a girl who had been seduced by Zeus and then turned into a cow; with Argus on guard, Zeus could not come to rescue Io, for only some of Argus' eyes would be closed in sleep at any one time. Hermes, working on Zeus' behalf, played music that put all the eyes to sleep and then killed Argus. Hera put his eyes in the tail of the peacock.