One for the Discordians

Blogging will still be very slow for a while, but I couldn’t help mentioning the newly named dwarf planet Eris, formerly nicknamed Xena. Xena worked for me, seeing as it came closer to respecting a mythic figure I actually cared about than just about anything else. Gotta love a Warrior Princess.

But I’m happy for those merry, chaotic Discordians, who finally get one of their own featured in the heavens; Eris is their matron and namesake (Greek to Latin, Discordia). Discordianism was well featured on PeaceBang’s Beauty Tips blog a while back. (See the comments.)

Of course, I can’t help being even happier over the pun in Eris’s moon’s name: Dysnomia. Yes, Dysnomia is Eris’s daughter, and so appropriate for naming Eris the dwarf planet’s satellite. But it also means “lawlessness” — a tip of the hat to Lucy Lawless, who played Xena? I hope someone did that on purpose. (Thanks Wikipedians for the info!)

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. ‘dysnomia” in Greek is translated “lawlessness, bad constitution” by the standard Liddell-Scott-Jones dictionary of Greek. It seems to me that Bill Frist is really a better namesake than Lucy Lawless, however. The thing is that the basic Greek word for “lawlessness” is anomia (much better attested), with negative a- from syllabic n- “not”. The prefix dus- or dys- means “bad”. See in general the American Heritage Dictionary, better than Wikipedia; the etymologies in the AHD were under the review of Cal Watkins, one of my teachers, who really knows this stuff. See Chantraine’s or Frisk’s Greek etymological dictionaries if you really want to look up a Greek etymology.

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