Word of the Day

Thursday, May 22, 2014

leviathan

\li-VAHY-uh-thuhn\ , noun;
1.
anything of immense size and power, as a huge, oceangoing ship.
2.
(often initial capital letter) Bible. a sea monster.
3.
any huge marine animal, as the whale.
4.
(initial capital letter, italics) a philosophical work (1651) by Thomas Hobbes dealing with the political organization of society.
Quotes:
But curiously, for all the series’s influence in shaping and reflecting the leviathan of "theory" on American campuses, Benjamin is a conspicuous absence among the wealth of titles.
-- Eric Banks, "Walter Benjamin's Afterlife," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2014
This 2000-strong bureaucratic leviathan allocates its budgets through the various ministries.
-- Misha Glenny, "Science waxes and wanes in Gorbachov's age of reform," New Scientist, 1988
Origin:
Leviathan entered English in the late 1300s as a word for a giant sea monster. It finds its roots in the Hebrew liwyāthān.
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