Forever and ever


Amaranthine by Kelly McKernan

Howdy, folks!

It’s Sunday night, I’m dead tired and in a few minutes I’ll be cocooned in the warm blankets of my bed, but I’ll try to complete my weekly posts anyway. A.Word.A.Day. saved the best for last, this word deserves a special attention. It’s about eternal life, the dream of mankind. Who wants to  live forever


(am-uh-RAN-thin, -thyn)
1. Unfading; everlasting.
2. Of deep purple-red color.
3. Of or related to the amaranth.
From amaranth (an imaginary, undying flower), from Latin amarantus, from Greek amarantos (unfading), from a- (not) + marainein (to fade). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mer- (to rub away or to harm), which is also the source of morse, mordant, amaranth, morbid, mortal, mortgage, nightmare, ambrosia, and premorse. Earliest documented use: 1667.

“Garda has retained its amaranthine appeal as one of the continent’s most timeless getaways.”
Thomas Breathnach; Still Waters Run Deep at Lake Garda; Irish Independent (Dublin, Ireland); Oct 19, 2013.


  1.  (Bot) amarantino.
  2. (poet) (undying) imperituro, perpetuo.
  3. (colour) amarantino.

Source:  Corriere della Sera – Dizionari

A few words on the supposed origin of the name: the word derives from the Greek amaranton, i.e. uwilting, the name given to a species of flowers that did not fade quickly. The name Amaranth actually identifies a plant originating from South America, a kind of cereal. According to the ancient Greek myths, its flowers were sacred to Goddesses and decorated tombs and images of Gods because they were considered the symbol of immortality. As a matter of fact, it’s unlikely that the ancient Greek could refer to this species, because its seeds were brought in Europe only after the discovery of the Americas. Indeed it’s more probable that the flower called Amaranton belonged to the family of chrysanthemum described in Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia, which  – once picked for drying – could reflourish if put in water (hence the association to eternal life). A funny remark: in most parts of Europe (Italy in the first position) chrysanthemums are considered the symbol of death and are used on graves.  I know that in other parts of the world chrysanthemums are not so ‘ill-famed’ (for example, in most parts of the US they are considered cheerful), but it’s quite weird that here they are connected to the idea of death, i.e. end of life, whereas they were considered the symbol of never-ending life by our forefathers! Are we narrow-minded or were they too optimistic, perhaps?

Well folks, bed time!  Good night and sweet dreams to you all!

Your passionate (Italian) Translator


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