Pygmalion

[ pig-mey-lee-uh n, -meyl-yuh n ]
/ pɪgˈmeɪ li ən, -ˈmeɪl yən /

noun

Classical Mythology. a sculptor and king of Cyprus who carved an ivory statue of a maiden and fell in love with it. It was brought to life, in response to his prayer, by Aphrodite.
(italics) a comedy (1912) by George Bernard Shaw.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pygmalion

British Dictionary definitions for pygmalion

Pygmalion

/ (pɪɡˈmeɪlɪən) /

noun

Greek myth a king of Cyprus, who fell in love with the statue of a woman he had sculpted and which his prayers brought to life as Galatea
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

Culture definitions for pygmalion (1 of 2)

Pygmalion

[ (pig-may-lee-uhn) ]

In classical mythology, a sculptor who at first hated women but then fell in love with a statue he made of a woman. He prayed to Venus that she would find him a woman like the statue. Instead, Venus made the statue come to life.

Note

The play Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw, adapts this theme: a professor trains a girl from the gutter to speak and behave like a lady, and then he and his new creation become attached to each other. This play became the basis for the musical comedy My Fair Lady.

Culture definitions for pygmalion (2 of 2)

Pygmalion

[ (pig-mayl-yuhn, pig-may-lee-uhn) (1913) ]

A play by George Bernard Shaw, about a professor, Henry Higgins, who trains a poor, uneducated girl, Eliza Doolittle, to act and speak like a lady. Shaw based his story on a tale from Greek mythology about a sculptor who carves a statue of a woman and falls in love with it (see under “Mythology and Folklore”).

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.