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Amaranth

An unfading flower; everlasting, un-withering.

Origin

This beautiful and euphonious noun originally stems from the Greek amarantos (and later the Latin amarantus) which was the name for a legendary undying flower; the consecutive meaning of ‘everlasting’ was naturally derived. Dated back to the 1610’s, this noun is compounded with the -a– prefix representing negation and marainein, meaning to die, to waste away, quench or extinguish.

While poets used this word for its derived meaning, in the late 1550’s amaranthos was applied to a genus of ornamental plants, as Greek anthos stands for ‘flower’. Since then Amaranth is the general name for a cosmopolitan genus of annual or short-living perennial plants with over 60 recognized species.

Representing immortality, these flowers were also adopted by the Christian churches in the middle ages, to decorate the holy tombs.

200 years later, the 1660’s brought forth amaranthine, the adjective that is said to have been coined by Milton which again means unfading or undying, and was later on used as a synonym for the purple color.

Why this word?

Amaranth is an amazing word to use; the way it rolls of your tongue makes you wish for the pronunciation to last forever upon its soft ‘r’ and long vowels. It also represents an imaginary, a legendary concept that deserves a beautiful word to stand for it.

How to use amaranth?

Amaranth is a noun, but in daily speech it is much more a figurative noun. It is mainly great for analogies.

“My love for you is amaranth”

“He promised amaranth, but was shorter than a rose”

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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

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