December 15, 2008
Apotropaic – adj. supposedly having the power to avert evil or bad luck.
Some terms related to today’s word include apotrope, which refer to objects like amulets or talismans meant to ward off evil, apotropaic magic, which can be thought of as any sort of ritual meant to ward off evil and, the one that I find most interesting, apotropaic names. Apotropaic names are, as you’ve probably figured out, names meant to ward off evil. The thing with apotropaic names is that to ward off evil they have to be unattractive to demons and other evil forces. In some cultures this leads to names like “garlic” or “hippopotamus”, but an apotropaic name could even be something like “ugly” or “stupid” if the parents thought that would keep the evil away.