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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — Apollonian

Good morning, Netizens...

January 10, 2013

Word of the Day

  • Apollonian
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ap-uh-LOH-nee-un\


: of, relating to, or resembling the god Apollo
: harmonious, measured, ordered, or balanced in character

His paintings exhibit a stately and Apollonian elegance, but too often fail to engage the viewer emotionally.

"[Pianist Andras] Schiff is described as cool, Apollonian, restrained, though this could be as much about his serene appearance than about the actual sound of the instrument." — From a review by Anne Midgette in The Washington Post, October 28, 2012


To the ancient Greeks, Apollo represented the perfection of youthful manhood. He was the god of music, poetry, archery, prophecy, and healing, among other things. English speakers began using the adjective "Apollonian" for someone who resembled Apollo in physical beauty or talent as long ago as 1663. Due partly to the work of Nietzsche and other German scholars, we now associate Apollo with the forces of calm rationality (as opposed to the "Dionysian" forces, which are instinctive, frenzied, and uninhibited). Despite these associations, Apollo himself was not always a force of reason—he had a terrible temper and a lust for young girls as well.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.