• synonyms



nightmare or demon that causes nightmares, c.1600, from Greek Ephialtes, name of a demon supposed to cause nightmares; the ancient explanation is that it was from ephallesthai "to leap upon," but OED finds "considerable" phonological difficulties with this.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Examples from the Web for ephialtes

Historical Examples

  • But the former was the home of Ephialtes and Otus, and the latter was the dwelling-place of Orion.

    Plutarch's Morals


  • The detachment which Ephialtes had guided were coming up from below.


    Jacob Abbott

  • The scene was closed by the arrival of the Persians led by Ephialtes in the rear.

  • The privileges of the Areopagus were Cleisthenes, Ephialtes.

  • She bore two sons Otus and Ephialtes, but both were short lived.