Gorgonian /gawr goh"nee euhn/, adj.
/gawr"geuhn/, n.
1. Class. Myth. any of three sister monsters commonly represented as having snakes for hair, wings, brazen claws, and eyes that turned anyone looking into them to stone. Medusa, the only mortal Gorgon, was beheaded by Perseus.
2. (l.c.) a mean, ugly, or repulsive woman.
[1350-1400; ME < L Gorgon < Gk Gorgó, der. of gorgós dreadful]

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One of three monsters in Greek mythology, the most famous of which was Medusa.

According to Hesiod, the three Gorgons were daughters of the sea god Phorcys. Another tradition held that they were created by the earth goddess, Gaea, to aid her sons, the Titans, in their struggle with the gods. Classical art depicts them as winged females with snakes for hair.

Gorgon, carved marble mask of the early 6th century BC; in the Acropolis Museum, Athens

Art Resource

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 monster figure in Greek mythology. Homer spoke of a single Gorgon—a monster of the underworld. The later Greek poet Hesiod increased the number of Gorgons to three—Stheno (the Mighty), Euryale (the Far Springer), and Medusa (the Queen)—and made them the daughters of the sea god Phorcys and of his sister-wife Ceto. The Attic tradition regarded the Gorgon as a monster produced by Gaea, the personification of Earth, to aid her sons against the gods.

      In early classical art the Gorgons were portrayed as winged female creatures; their hair consisted of snakes, and they were round-faced, flat-nosed, with tongues lolling out and with large projecting teeth. Medusa—who in later art is depicted as beautiful although deadly—was the only one of the three who was mortal; hence, Perseus was able to kill her by cutting off her head. From the blood that ran from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two offspring by Poseidon. Medusa's severed head had the power of turning all who looked upon it into stone. Carved masks of the hideously grotesque type of the Gorgon's head were used as a protection against the evil eye.

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  • Gorgon — Gor gon, a. Like a Gorgon; very ugly or terrific; as, a Gorgon face. Dryden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gorgón — (ant.) m. Esguín (cría del salmón). * * * gorgón. (Cf. fr. corégone). m. ant. Cría del salmón …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • GORGON — seu Urgo Plin. l. 3. c. 6. et P. Melae, l. 2. c. 7. inc. parva et montosa maris Tyrrheni, Caprariae proxima. Mem. eius Rutil. l. 1. Assurgit ponti medio circumflua Gorgon. Baudr. inter oram Tusciae, et Corsicam, alias sub Pisanis, nunc M.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Gorgon — Gor gon (g[^o]r g[o^]n), n. [L. Gorgo, onis, Gr. Gorgw , fr. gorgo s terrible.] 1. (Gr. Myth.) One of three fabled sisters, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, with snaky hair and of terrific aspect, the sight of whom turned the beholder to stone. The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Gorgon — GORGON, ŏnis, (⇒ Tab. V.) hatte den Typhon und die Echidna zu Aeltern. Hygin. Præf. p. 15. Er zeugete mit der Ceto die Gorgone. Id. ibid. p. 9. & Apollod. lib, II. c. 4. §. 12. Cf. Muncker. ad Hyg l. c. sieh Gorgones …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • Gorgon [1] — GORGON, ŏnis, ist zwar so viel, als eine der drey Gorgonen, insonderheit aber doch vor andern Medusa. Conon Narrat. 40. Sich Gorgones …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • Gorgon — late 14c., any of the three hideous sisters in Greek legend, whose look turned beholders to stone (Madusa was one of them), from Gk. Gorgo (pl. Gorgones), from gorgos terrible, of unknown origin. Transferred sense of terrifyingly ugly person is… …   Etymology dictionary

  • gorgón — (Cf. fr. corégone). m. ant. Cría del salmón …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • gorgon — ► NOUN 1) Greek Mythology each of three sisters with snakes for hair, who had the power to turn anyone who looked at them to stone. 2) a fierce, frightening, or repulsive woman. ORIGIN Greek Gorg , from gorgos terrible …   English terms dictionary

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