Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “the halcyon days.” This way is common.
2. After a linking verb, as in "The days were halcyon.” But this way is rare.)
You know the unicorn, the griffin, and the phoenix, but how about the halcyon? It's a mythical bird with the power to make the wind and water calm.
So, something halcyon reminds you of that magical, calming power. Halcyon things are calm, peaceful, and happy. Something halcyon can also be successful and flourishing.
Other adjective forms are "halcyonic" (hal see ON ick) and "halcyonian" (hal see OWN ee un.)
How to use it:
The most common phrase for this word is "halcyon days." But you can also have halcyon weeks/months/years, a halcyon summer, a halcyon period or age, your halcyon childhood, the halcyon 1990's, and so on.
"Halcyon" most often describes time periods, but it's more useful than that. You can have halcyon joy, halcyon glory, a halcyon island, a halcyon work of art, a halcyon marriage or friendship, a halcyon past or future, and so on. Anything that's joyful, peaceful, and calm can be called halcyon.
If you've been a Make Your Point reader for awhile, you might recall our featured word "idyllic," a close synonym of "halcyon." Yes, they're interchangeable. To draw a fine distinction, though, use "idyllic" to hint that something reminds you of a poem about the countryside, and use "halcyon" to hint that something reminds you of a mystical power to keep the ocean calm and peaceful.
My sisters and I reminiscence about our halcyon days (and wild, hyper nights) at Camp Sequoya.
Gentle rain on the tin roof at night lulls us into a halcyon sleep.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "halcyon" means when you can explain it without saying “prosperous" or “pleasant."
Think of a particular holiday or a particular time of year that makes you feel peaceful and happy, and fill in the blanks: "When _(life gets too hectic in some way)_, I just look forward to a halcyon (holiday or time of year.)"
Example: "When Christmas gets absolutely bonkers with travel plans and to-do lists, I just look forward to a halcyon New Year's Day."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game content is protected by a copyright, so I can't reprint the trivia questions here--but check out the thoughtful and thorough reference book that I got them from: Last Words of Notable People!
A Point Well Made:
John F. Kennedy: "When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”
1. The opposites of HALCYON are
A. SINGULAR and VALUABLE
B. FAILING and TURBULENT
C. COLD and INSENSITIVE
2. The magazine photos evoke a halcyon _____.
A. thin model
B. lifestyle by the sea
C. array of new gadgetry
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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