• synonyms


[pruh-mee-thee-uh n]
  1. of or suggestive of Prometheus.
  2. creative; boldly original.
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  1. a person who resembles Prometheus in spirit or action.
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Origin of Promethean

First recorded in 1580–90; Promethe(us) + -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for promethean

Historical Examples

  • If we have the Promethean fire, let it burn to light and warm them.

    The Continental Monthly, Vol. 6, No. 6, December 1864


  • Better so than to have the Promethean vulture peck it out for you.

  • I will apply the Promethean torch, and soon vivify that rude mass.

    Mr. Midshipman Easy

    Captain Frederick Marryat

  • He was a Promethean warrior, bound in limb, but free and unfettered in spirit.

  • He used the word with malice, knowing it was ever on the Promethean lips.

    The Bright Messenger

    Algernon Blackwood

British Dictionary definitions for promethean


  1. of or relating to Prometheus
  2. creative, original, or life-enhancing
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  1. a person who resembles Prometheus
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for promethean



1580s, from Prometheus + -an. Before the introduction of modern matches (see lucifer), promethean was the name given (early 19c.) to small glass tubes full of sulphuric acid, surrounded by an inflammable mixture, which ignited when pressed and gave off light.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper