Fun Fact Quiz #4

Here are some interesting words will that challenge you to choose the correct definition and perhaps have some fun!!. There's no grading, so keep trying till you get the right answer. (You'll need a modern browser with javascript for best use).

#1 What does GRUPS mean?

  1. A delicious, but yucky looking, worm found in rose bushes
  2. A mythical beast with the head of an eagle
  3. A name that Greek children called their parents

GRUPS is the Greek word for Griffin... a Griffin is a mythical beast with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. I'm not sure where the Griffins came from or where they're hiding now but rest assured... they're still with us... perhaps they're in that vacant house down the street.

#2 What is a KATZEN?

  1. A household pet
  2. A small fishing boat
  3. A knife with a curved blade

KATZEN is Greek for cat. The ancient Greeks did not have cats as household pets until after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and brought the lovable pets back to Greece. Before cats became domesticated, polecats were common pets... polecat is another name for a ferret.

#3 What the heck is a PSALTERION (SAL-te-RE-um)?

  1. An old name for a hospital
  2. An ancient wall that protected the city of Athens
  3. A musical instrument

A PSALTERION was an ancient stringed instrument played by plucking the strings with the fingers or a plectrum (a pick)... it was similar to a harp but much smaller. Today it's called a Psaltery.

#4 What is a HECATOMB?

  1. A large burial chamber
  2. A pointed hat worn by sorcerers
  3. An animal sacrifice

Pronounced HEK-e-tom... a Hecatomb was a sacrifice to the Immortals consisting of one hundred oxen... the word is also used for any large scale animal sacrifice regardless of the number of animals that are offered. After the sacrifice, the bones and fat of the animals were burned as an offering to the Immortals and the finer portions of meat were cooked and eaten by the worshipers.

#5 What is the ZODIAC?

  1. A large bear found in Alaska and western Canada
  2. Stars in the sky
  3. A famous river in Zod

In Greek it's Zodiakus... the Zodiac is comprised of groups of stars that occupy the ecliptic of the celestial sphere. The ecliptic is the region of space that the sun and the planets appear to move through. This 360 degree region of space is divided into twelve 30 degree sections which are called the Houses of the Zodiac. Each "house" has a constellation that gives that portion of the sky its name. If you want to know the names of the constellations that comprise the Zodiac, look in your daily newspaper... they will be listed under "Horoscope"... in Greek that would be Horoskopos (horo = hour and skopos = observer)

#6 What does the word LEPTON signify?

  1. A beverage made with dried tea leaves
  2. A sub-atomic particle
  3. A person suffering from leprosy

LEPTON is from the Greek word "leptos"... it means "small" or "fine". In English it signifies a small sub-atomic particle like a muon (and not to be confused with the much, much larger mesons!). A muon has a mass 207 times less than an electron an exists for 2.2 times ten to the minus six second. In modern Greece, a LEPTON is a small coin worth one-hundredth of a drachma and, when you go shopping, will last about 2.2 seconds.

#7 What is a PEPLOS?

  1. A loose outer garment for women
  2. A drug used to combat fatigue
  3. An island that sinks at high tide

A PEPLOS was a loose outer robe worn by women in ancient Greece... usually without sleeves, cinched at the waist and hanging to the ankles. Today, such a garment might be called a "sack-dress" or a "moo-moo". Although the PEPLOS might be considered a garment worn by humble women, during the Athenian festival known as the Greater Panathenaea, there was a solemn procession to the Acropolis where an elaborately embroidered PEPLOS was placed on the goddess Athene's statue.

#8 If someone says that they've seen BOOTES, what exactly have they seen?

  1. The twin mountains on the island of Cyprus
  2. The warm shoes worn by Greek sailors
  3. A group of stars named after a farmer

BOOTES literally means "plowman". It is one of the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere.

#9 When someone says that something is HERMETIC, what do they mean?

  1. They mean that it's too warm
  2. They mean that something is sealed tight
  3. They mean that a musical instrument is out of tune

HERMETIC means, "totally sealed"... it usually implies that something is sealed from air but it generally means that something is impervious to outside entry. The word is derived from the name of the messenger of the Immortals, Hermes... the messages he carries are incorruptible.

#10 What should you do if someone tell you that ALASTOR is coming to dinner?

  1. Hide the good china and serve dinner on paper plates
  2. Move and leave no forwarding address
  3. Wear a bullet-proof vest under your tuxedo
  4. There's really nothing you can do.

There is nothing you can do to avoid the wrath of ALASTOR... he is an avenging Spirit and knows no mercy... if you have offended the Immortals, you are without hope from his retribution.

#11 What is NEPHOLOGY?

  1. The science of clouds
  2. The study of sleep disorders
  3. The art of predicting the future by watching birds in flight

NEPHOLOGY simply means the study of clouds. A NEPHOGRAM is a photograph of clouds. A NEPHOSCOPE is an instrument measuring the direction and/or velocity of clouds. Literally: nephos = cloud and logy = word.

#12 What is a MOSAIC?

  1. A small edible sea creature
  2. A decorative design made with colored stones
  3. A structure made entirely of marble
  4. A web browser used in ancient times

A MOSAIC is a decorative design or picture made by placing small colored stones in mortar. In Greek, "mouseios" means "of the Muses". The Muses gave us art in all forms... mosaics is just one example... the word music is another.

#13 What is a HIPPODROME?

  1. A large African beast that lives primarily in water
  2. A sales pitch
  3. A racetrack

The ancient HIPPODROME was an open-air stadium with an oval track used for horse and chariot racing. Hippos = horse and Dromos = race.

#14 If someone said that they were DELPHIC, what would you do?

  1. Run for your life
  2. Ask to borrow money
  3. Ask them to tell your fortune

DELPHIC means, "relating to Delphi"... Delphi was the site of the temple of the oracles of Apollon. He built his temple at the "navel of the world" and pilgrims came from all over the ancient world to hear the rhyming riddles of the priestesses of Delphi. Their prophecies were couched in poetry and could be interpreted incorrectly if the heart of the supplicant was impure.

#15 Define EXO.

  1. The ancient god of oil and natural gas
  2. A prefix meaning "out"
  3. An actor's cue to leave the stage

EXO is a prefix meaning "outside" or "external". It's used in many English words, such as:
Exodus - a large scale departure of people
Exoskeleton - the external protective structure of invertebrates
Exosphere - the outermost portion of the earth's atmosphere

#16 PHOBOS means "fear" and PHOBE means "one who fears". What does a XENOPHOBE fear?

  1. Warrior princesses
  2. Strangers
  3. Loud noises

A XENOPHOBE is someone who fears or hates strangers or foreigners.

#17 What is TARTAROS?

  1. The Underworld
  2. A dental affliction
  3. A garnish for seafood

TARTAROS is a part of the Underworld that is reserved for the dead who displeased the Immortals by leading a selfish and pointless life. The Blessed Dead were rewarded for their gracious and generous lives by being allowed to reside in the beautiful Elysium Fields. Whether they are in Tartaros or the Elysium Fields, the dead can hear you when you speak of them.

#18 What is a SIBULLA?

  1. A feud between brothers and sisters
  2. A bone in the lower leg
  3. A female oracle

SIBULLA is Greek for "Sibyl", i.e. a female prophet or oracle. Sibylla was an Asian maiden who gained the gift of prophecy and long life from the god Apollon. The term Sibyl (a female seer or prophet) comes from the name Sibylla.

#19 What is an ISTHMUS?

  1. A German holiday celebrated at the winter solstice
  2. A narrow strip of land
  3. A speech impediment

From the Greek word "Isthmos"... an ISTHMUS is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land masses or bodies of water. Examples are:
The Isthmus of Panama - the narrow strip of land that connects North and South America.
The Isthmus of Korinth - the narrow strip of land that connects mainland Greece with the Peloponnesian Peninsula.
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec - the most narrow part of southern Mexico between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.

#20 If someone told you that they couldn't tell their right BUSKIN from their left BUSKIN, what would you think?

  1. You would think that they should sell their Macintosh computer and buy an IBM
  2. You would think that they were dyslectic
  3. You would think that they were completely stupid

Anyone who can't tell their right BUSKIN from their left BUSKIN is completely stupid! In ancient Greece, BUSKINS were poor mans boots and, like socks, they could be worn on either foot.

#21 If someone said that you looked like a LOTUS EATER, what would they mean?

  1. That you were a vegetarian
  2. That you were a dim-wit
  3. That you had a clear complexion

The LOTUS EATERS that Odysseus encountered on his voyage home were dim-wits... the mythical lotus plant acted like a sedative on those who ate it and rendered the natives listless and induced a state of languorous forgetfulness. JUST SAY NO TO LOTUS!

Home • Essays • People, Places & Things • The Immortals
Greek Myths Bookshop • Fun Fact Quiz • Search/Browse • Links • About