2001-08-11

epigon

(This one's for you, Ryan.)

epigon/epigone has two meanings:

  1. (Rare) One of a succeeding generation. Chiefly in pl. the less distinguished successors of an illustrious generation. Also in L. form (chiefly with initial capital) e'pigoni.

    Greek: 'epi' = upon, after + -gonos, from the root of 'gignestai' = to be born. (romanized since I can't type the Greek characters here).

    The designation was applied to the sons of the seven heroes who led the war against Thebes; the modern use is in allusion to this.

  2. (Botanical) The membranous bag or flask which encloses the spore-case of a liverwort or scale-moss when young.

The related term 'archegon' has a botanical meaning already:

[mod.L., dim. of Gr. archegonos = founder of a race, f. arche- = archi- + gonos = race. Rarely "archegon".] (again romanized)

The female organ in Cryptogams, corresponding to the pistil in flowering plants.

But, given its etymology, there is some foundation for using it to mean "founder or originator". I.e., "the epigon follows the archegon".

More information at Dictionary.com.

No comments: