February 28, 2007


apotheosis: n. [uh-pah-the-O'-sus] (1) Transformation into a god (2) The perfect example.
"After his assassination Abraham Lincoln underwent an apotheosis that transformed the controversial politician into a saintly father of democracy."
The word apotheosis has the prefix apo-, meaning "related to" and the root theo, meaning "god"; thus, it suggests a human who has become godlike. In Greek mythology, very few humans were apotheosized [a-pah-THEE'-uh-sized], but Heracles (Hercules) was one who made the grade, and there are pictures painted on ancient vases showing the big party the rest of the gods held for him when he joined them after his apotheosis.
Any great classic example of something can be called its apotheosis; a collector might state, for example, that the Duesenberg* Phaeton was the apotheosis of the touring car (233).--Cornog, Mary Wood. Merriam-Webster's Vocabulary Builder. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1994.

Duesenberg = doozy. The great American luxury cars of the 1930s were the Pierce Arrow, the Packard, the Cadillac, the Cord, and the Duesenberg--the original doozy. The Duesenberg SJ model roadster had a 320-horsepower engine and could do 130 miles per hour; it was so exquisitely tooled, inside and out, that the diminutive Duesy, later doozy, quickly became a byword (often used sarcastically) for excellence (34).
--Tuleja, Tad. Marvelous Monikers. New York: Harmony Books, 1990.

1605, from L.L. apotheosis, from Gk. apotheosis, from apotheoun "deify, make (someone) a god," from apo- special use of this prefix, meaning, here, "change" + theos "god."--Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com
• The word apotheosized has been attached to many historical figures, including Homer, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, and George Washington.
• It has also been applied to cultural epochs such as the Greek Golden Age and the European Renaissance.
• More recently, the word has been
facetiously retooled to fit the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, Tom Cruze, and--toweringly--Marylin Monroe and Elvis Presley.



  1. I doubt if W will ever be apotheosized but he may think otherwise.

  2. Interesting note on the origin of the word "doozy." I love learning how these types of words come about.