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The authoritative “Diccionario de la Lengua española (22a. edición) de la Real Academia Española,” notes that the Spanish word for woman, mujer, is derived from the Latin “mulier” or “mulieris”, also meaning woman (Del lat. mulĭer, -ēris). Contrary to the impression given by the fanciful etymology megaera – mujer, the origin of the word “mulier” is unknown, but the word possibly may be derived from a root meaning “soft, delicate.” See http://www.sussex.ac.uk/linguistics/documents/where_do_mama2.pdf.
As detailed by Thelma Cheren in her 1971 article “Gynecology: an Etymological Note” (see http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=197651&blobtype=pdf), ”mulier” is said to come from the comparative form “mollior,” of the word “mollis,” meaning “soft” or tender” or “pliable” or “gentle.” Other words sharing this origin include “mollify” and “emollient.” The postulated root word “mol” signifies grinding down by force, at first literally and later figuratively. The literal meaning is captured in modern English words such as “meal” (ground grain), “mill” (to grind) and “molar“ (grinding tooth). Behind the root word “mol” lies an older root word, “mar,” meaning to crush, pound, or destroy, which has given us modern words as diverse as morbid, murder, Mars, and milk.
- Yes, that seems reasonable. I have removed the reference to Spanish. The French, Italian, and Portuguese terms, however, seem more likely to derive from it, because the vowel is different from the Latin root. Rigadoun (talk) 18:38, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Megaera's alleged beauty as the cause of jealousy is an interesting interpretation but still dubious and completely unsourced. Also, “thought by many” in a wikipedia article is generally synonymous with original research or utter BS. Please don’t put it back without a credible source.
I guess mentioning that in art, the Erinyes, just like the Gorgons, were not always as frightful as their function and common descriptions suggest is ok.