[pruh-mee-thee-uh s, -thyoos]

noun Classical Mythology.

a Titan, the father of Deucalion and brother of Atlas and Epimetheus, who taught humankind various arts and was sometimes said to have shaped humans out of clay and endowed them with the spark of life. For having stolen fire from Olympus and given it to humankind in defiance of Zeus, he was chained to a rock where an eagle daily tore at his liver, until he was finally released by Hercules. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prometheus

Contemporary Examples of prometheus

Historical Examples of prometheus

  • Even with the gifts of Prometheus, men could not rest content.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew

    Josephine Preston Peabody

  • Has suffering already begun to make him, like Prometheus, wise?

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • What a range of meanings and what perpetual pertinence has the story of Prometheus!

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Prometheus knows one secret which Jove must bargain for; Minerva, another.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Epimetheus said to Prometheus: 'Let me distribute, and do you inspect.'

British Dictionary definitions for prometheus



Greek myth a Titan, who stole fire from Olympus to give to mankind and in punishment was chained to a rock, where an eagle tore at his liver until Hercules freed him
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 prometheus


demigod (son of the Titan Iapetus) who made man from clay and stole fire from heaven and taught mankind its use, for which he was punished by Zeus by being chained to a rock in the Caucasus, where a vulture came every day and preyed on his liver. The name is Greek, and anciently was interpreted as literally "forethinker, foreseer," from promethes "thinking before," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + *methos, related to mathein "to learn," from enlargement of PIE root *men- "to think" (see mind (n.)). However Watkins suggests the second element is possibly from a base meaning "to steal," also found in Sanskrit mathnati "he steals."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

prometheus in Culture


[(pruh-mee-thee-uhs, pruh-meeTh-yoohs)]

In classical mythology, the Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. As punishment for the theft, Zeus ordered Prometheus chained to a rock and sent a great eagle to gnaw at the Titan's liver. Despite his torment, Prometheus refused to submit to Zeus' will. He was eventually rescued by Hercules.


Prometheus has become a symbol of lonely and valiant resistance to authority. Aeschylus wrote a play, Prometheus Bound, and Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote a long poem entitled “Prometheus Unbound.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.