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Word of the Day
Sunday, January 29, 2017

Definitions for parergon

  1. something that is an accessory to a main work or subject; embellishment.
  2. work undertaken in addition to one's principal work.

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Citations for parergon
It was what you might call a final exhibition--a last attack--a giddy par-ergon. Rudyard Kipling, Stalky & Co., 1899
Sometimes this making or doing was their profession; sometimes it was a parergon carried on deliciously in leisure hours. A. P. Herbert, The House by the River, 1921
Origin of parergon
Párergon, a Greek noun meaning “secondary business, side job” comes from the Greek preposition and prefix pará “alongside, beyond” and the (Attic) Greek noun érgon “work.” Other dialects, e.g., Doric, preserve the more conservative form wérgon, which shows more clearly the relationship between the modern English noun “work” (from Germanic werkam) and the ancient Greek forms. The ancient Greek and Germanic nouns derive from Proto-Indo-European wergom. The word entered English in the 17th century.