In a word: terpsichorean

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word: 


Though many evangelical Christians have been leery of dancing, the Greeks held it in high esteem, numbering dance as one of the gifts of the Muses, along with epic poetry, lyric poetry, erotic poetry, sacred poetry, history, comedy, tragedy, and astronomy. Each was anthropomorphized, and Terpsichore was personified as the muse of dance. 

From her name we derive the adjective terpsichorean (pronounced terp-SIK-uh-ree-an), "pertaining to dance." 

When you roll up the carpets and join your partner on the floor to trip the light fantastic (a slang expression from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries deriving from the lines in Milton's "L'Allegro," "Come, and trip it as you go / On the light fantastic toe"), you display your terpsichorean prowess.

And remember as you do this advice, "You've gotta dance like nobody's watching."  

Example: From a May 2004 letter to Popular Science: "But in fairness to the much derided medieval theologians, their musings on how many myriads of angels could dance on the head of a pin sounds eerily similar to modern physicists' descriptions of the terpsichorean quantum."

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