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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

Words of the day — aegis

Good morning, Netizens...

February 12, 2013

Word of the Day

  • aegis
  • audio pronunciation
  • \EE-jus\


: a shield or breastplate
a : protection b : controlling or conditioning influence
: auspices, sponsorship b: control or guidance especially by an individual, group, or system

The studies were conducted under the aegis of the National Institutes of Health.

"[Julian Fellowes] is also at work on a big-screen reconceptualization of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents's Gypsy ... under the aegis of Barbra Streisand and Joel Silver, who will produce the film." — From a review by David Kamp in Vanity Fair, December 2012


We borrowed "aegis" from Latin, but the word ultimately derives from the Greek noun "aigis," which means "goatskin." In ancient Greek mythology, an aegis was something that offered physical protection. In some stories, it was the thundercloud where Zeus kept the thunderbolts he used as weapons. In others, the aegis was a magical protective cloak made from the skin of the goat that had suckled Zeus as an infant. The word first entered English in the 16th century as a noun meaning "shield" or "protection," and by the 20th century it had acquired the extended senses of "auspices" or "sponsorship."

From Merriam-Webster Online at



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