the aggregate of qualities, as valor and virtue, making up good character.
Not every word has a direct translation in other languages, and arete falls into this category; though it is frequently translated as “excellence,” using “excellence” alone ignores all the nuances, such as bravery, intellect, and productivity, that arete implies in the original Greek. You may also know that Ancient Greek had multiple words for “love,” and “love” alone can’t fully communicate how philia is a type of brotherly love, how eros signifies passion and desire, or how agape refers to the love between spouses or for fellow humans. These translation issues also arise with philosophical terms such as pathos, which can be translated succinctly as “feeling”–its intended meaning in compounds such as apathy, empathy, and sympathy. However, pathos is more than another word for “emotion”; it refers to the feelings of pity, sorrow, or compassion that result when hearing, seeing, or listening to another person’s story or experiences. As with arete, no single English word can capture all these subtle meanings.
Arete can most easily be recognized on the playing field, where outstanding performance can be judged quickly and succinctly. But arete was not the exclusive possession of the winner. Anyone who exceeded the performance reasonably expected of him could be said to have shown his arete, and arete was essentially an individual, rather than a collective, characteristic.
Flourishing starts with knowing who you are and what your job is. If you’re not in an ideal job yet, consider your strengths and weaknesses and what you want to achieve. Also known as arete, virtue or excellence is about more than earning money.
great; large; much.
Mickle is often found in the expression “many a little makes a mickle,” which sometimes appears instead as “many a pickle makes a mickle” or “many a mickle makes a muckle” and points to how a vast number of small quantities can form a great quantity. Mickle has many cognates in other Indo-European languages that pertain to greatness, whether literal size or figurative influence—from mickle’s Latin cognate, we have magnify and magnitude; from its Greek cognate, we have megabyte and megalomania; and from its Sanskrit cognate, we have maharajah “a ruling prince,” and maharishi “a respected teacher of mystical knowledge.” The adjective much originated as a shortened form of mickle likely in the 12th century and is not related to Spanish mucho, which derives instead from the Latin word for “many”—the same word that gives us multiple and multitude.
God’s help! my lady fair the conjuror plays This very night: good angels her deceive! But let me laugh awhile, I’ve mickle time to grieve.
a stream of fire or fiery light.
In addition to referring to “a stream of fire or fiery light,” Phlegethon retains its original meaning as the river of fire that surrounded Hades, the underworld, in Greek mythology. Its name literally means “burning” or “flaming” in Ancient Greek. The Phlegethon was one of five rivers in Hades; the others were the Acheron, Cocytus, Lethe, and Styx. While the Phlegethon was known as the river of fire, the Acheron was the river of sadness, the Cocytus was the river of weeping, the Lethe was the river of forgetfulness, and the Styx was the river of hatred. All five rivers coalesced at the center of Hades, and Charon ferried the souls of the dead either along the Acheron or the Styx, depending on the author.
The buckets dropped; the water sizzed and steamed on the sand. The boy barely missed stumbling into a Phlegethon of molten iron as he dodged the murderous missile.