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May 23, 2020

Word of the Day: Pandemonium

1 CQ

Word of the Day : August 11, 2017

Pandemonium \pan-duh-MOH-nee-um\ noun


1 : the capital of Hell in Milton's Paradise Lost

2 : the infernal regions : hell

3 : (not capitalized) a wild uproar : tumult


The power failure occurred during rush hour, and with none of the traffic lights working, pandemonium ensued as drivers struggled to get home.

"Czernowin's score includes eruptions of orchestral, vocal, and electronic pandemonium that evoke with unnerving immediacy the chaos of battle and its aftermath." — Alexander M. Ross, The New Yorker, 15 May 2017

Did You Know?

When John Milton needed a name for the gathering place of all demons for Paradise Lost, he turned to the classics as any sensible 17th-century writer would. Pandæmonium, as the capital of Hell is known in the epic poem, combines the Greek prefix pan-, meaning "all," with the Late Latin daemonium, meaning "evil spirit." (Daemonium itself traces back to the far more innocuous Greek word daimōn, meaning "spirit, deity.")  Over time, Pandæmonium (or Pandemonium) came to designate all of hell and was used as well for earthbound dens of iniquity. By the late-18th century, the word implied a place or state of confusion or uproar, and from there, it didn't take long for pandemonium to become associated with states of utter disorder and wildness.

Aired August 11, 2017

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