Pronounced: [like it sounds]
Notes: You may know this word; I’ve run across it quite a bit in recent months
The word orphic means
- melodious; entrancing
- mystical; occult
This word came into English in the mid-1600s
Background / Comments
I have taken a course in Western music, and one part of it discusses the story of Orpheus, a character in Greek mythology from which our word comes. If you don’t know the story, Orpheus was a superb musician; his playing and singing could charm animals, trees, and even rocks. When his beloved wife Eurydice (your-RID-uh-see) died of a snakebite, he traveled to the underworld to ask for her back. His playing charmed even Hades, the god of the underworld, who allowed her to follow him out of Hades, on the condition that Orpheus not look behind him until they were clear of the underworld. They had nearly made it when Orpheus, driven nearly made with doubt, looked behind him and thus lost her. Thus, the first meaning comes from the character of Orpheus; I’m not sure how the second meaning came about, unless it refers to the story in general.