Word of the Week: Nemesis

Nemesis is a noun and is defined as one that inflicts retribution or vengeance.

Nemesis is one of the many words in the English language that has its roots in Greek mythology. In this case, the word nemesis derives from the Greek goddess Nemesis. We were introduced to the Greek goddess Nemesis in previous week’s Word of the Week: Narcissism and Echo.

The word nemesis originally meant a distributor of fortune, neither good or bad—only what the person rightly deserved. However, the word has evolved to mean a sense of justice; finally, developing its current definition of vengeance or retribution. This change could have been influenced by Nemesis, the Greek goddess of revenge, who in the story of Echo and Narcissus took revenge on Narcissus for rejecting Echo’s advances. In the story, Nemesis lures Narcissus to a pool of water. Once Narcissus discovers his reflection, he is unable to remove his gaze and eventually dies while Echo watches him from a distance. 

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Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, s.v. “nemesis.”
Nemesis (mythology)

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