Word of the Day Archive
Sunday April 15, 2012
1. Anything believed to provide protection or safety; safeguard.
2. A statue of Athena, especially one on the citadel of Troy on which the safety of the city was supposed to depend.
3. A rare metallic element of the platinum group, silver-white, ductile and malleable, harder and fusing more readily than platinum; used chiefly as a catalyst and in dental and other alloys. Symbol: Pd; atomic weight: 106.4; atomic number: 46; specific gravity: 12 at 20°C.
Trial by jury is the palladium of our liberties.
-- Mark Twain, Roughing It
So, representative institutions are the talismanic palladium of the nation, are they? The palladium of the classes that have them, I daresay.
-- Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke: Novels, Poems and Letters of Charles Kingsley
Palladium is related to the Greek word pallas meaning "little maiden." The sense of a protective talisman comes from the name of a statue of Athena that guarded the city of Troy.