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Word of the Day
Monday, July 10, 2017

Definitions for Janus-faced

  1. having two contrasting aspects, as the alternation of mood in a capricious person.
  2. having two faces, one looking forward, one looking backward, as the Roman deity Janus.
  3. two-faced; deceitful.

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Citations for Janus-faced
And he has positioned himself as a Janus-faced figure who can present one version of reality to his followers and another version to the outside world. Roger Berkowitz, "Why Arendt Matters: Revisiting 'The Origins of Totalitarianism'," Los Angeles Review of Books, March 18, 2017
By so fully enacting the Janus-faced tendencies, the extreme looking backwards and forwards of the Walpolean Gothic symbol, moreover, Hugo's Notre Dame allows the contradiction that results to disguise, yet thereby contain, profound cultural contradictions of the author's own moment. Jerrold E. Hogle, "Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris, Leroux's Le Fantôme de l'Opéra and the Changing Fiction of the Gothic," Le Gothic: Influences and Appropriations in Europe and America, 2008
Origin of Janus-faced
Janus was the ancient Roman god of doorways (Latin jānuae; singular jānua) and of free-standing archways or gateways (Latin jānī; singular jānus). There were auspicious and inauspicious ways of passing through a jānus. The jānī were used for auspicious entrances and exits, especially for the departure of the army on an expedition. Because Janus was the god of entrances and exits, of beginnings and endings in general, of wars and conflicts in particular, and of temporal transitions, he is represented as having two faces because he looks to both the future and the past. Janus-faced entered English in the late 17th century.