Word of the Day Archive
Thursday December 2, 2004
empyrean \em-py-REE-uhn; -PEER-ee-\
1. The highest heaven, in ancient belief usually thought to be a realm of pure fire or light.
2. Heaven; paradise.
3. The heavens; the sky.
1. Of or pertaining to the empyrean of ancient belief.
She might have been an angel arguing a point in the empyrean if she hadn't been, so completely, a woman.
-- Edith Wharton, "The Long Run", The Atlantic, Feburary 1912
In the poem -- one he had the good sense finally to abandon -- he pictured himself as a blind moth raised among butterflies, which for a brief moment had found itself rising upward into the empyrean to behold "Great horizons and systems and shores all along," only to find its wings crumpling and itself falling -- like Icarus -- back to earth.
-- Paul Mariani, The Broken Tower: A Life of Hart Crane
In my experience, the excitement generated by a truly fresh and original piece of writing is the rocket fuel that lifts Grub Street's rackety skylab -- with its grizzled crew of editors, publishers, agents, booksellers, publicists -- into orbit in the empyrean.
-- Robert McCrum, "Young blood", The Observer, August 26, 2001
Empyrean comes from Medieval Latin empyreum, ultimately from Greek empurios, from en-, "in" + pyr, "fire."