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Argus

[ahr-guh s] /ˈɑr gəs/
noun
1.
Classical Mythology. a giant with 100 eyes, set to guard the heifer Io: his eyes were transferred after his death to the peacock's tail.
2.
a son of Phrixus and builder of the Argo.
3.
(in the Odyssey) Odysseus' faithful dog, who recognized his master after twenty years and immediately died.
4.
any observant or vigilant person; a watchful guardian.
5.
(lowercase). Also, argus pheasant. any of several brilliantly marked Malayan pheasants of the Argusianus or Rheinardia genera.
Origin
< Latin < Greek Árgos, derivative of argós bright, shining
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for argus-pheasant

argus

/ˈɑːɡəs/
noun
1.
any of various brown butterflies, esp the Scotch argus (Erebia aethiops) found on moorland and in forests up to a height of 2000 m

Argus

/ˈɑːɡəs/
noun
1.
(Greek myth) a giant with a hundred eyes who was made guardian of the heifer Io. After he was killed by Hermes his eyes were transferred to the peacock's tail
2.
a vigilant person; guardian
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for argus-pheasant
Argus
hundred-eyed giant of Gk. mythology, late 14c., from L., from Gk. Argos, lit. "the bright one," from argos "shining, bright" (see argent). His epithet was Panoptes "all-eyes." After his death, Hera transferred his eyes to the peacock's tail. Used in figurative sense of "very vigilant person."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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argus-pheasant in Culture

Argus definition


A creature in classical mythology who had a hundred eyes. Hera set him to watch over Io, a girl who had been seduced by Zeus and then turned into a cow; with Argus on guard, Zeus could not come to rescue Io, for only some of Argus' eyes would be closed in sleep at any one time. Hermes, working on Zeus' behalf, played music that put all the eyes to sleep and then killed Argus. Hera put his eyes in the tail of the peacock.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for argus-pheasant

Argus

figure in Greek legend described variously as the son of Inachus, Agenor, or Arestor or as an aboriginal hero (autochthon). His byname derives from the hundred eyes in his head or all over his body, as he is often depicted on Athenian red-figure pottery from the late 6th century BC. Argus was appointed by the goddess Hera to watch the cow into which Io (Hera's priestess) had been transformed, but he was slain by Hermes, who is called Argeiphontes, "Slayer of Argus," in the Homeric poems. Argus's eyes were transferred by Hera to the tail of the peacock. His fate is mentioned in a number of Greek tragedies from the 5th century BC-including two by Aeschylus, Suppliants and Prometheus Bound, and Euripides' Phoenician Women-and the Latin poet Ovid's Metamorphoses from the 1st century AD

Learn more about Argus with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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