Today's "mammon," meaning "the evil influence of wealth," might remind you of "F______," which means "relating to selling your soul for personal gain." Could you recall this proper adjective?
make your point with...
Mammon is the evil influence of greed, or the evil god of wealth.
Part of speech:
Because you sometimes use "mammon" as a name, like "God" or "Santa Claus," and because other times you use it as an idea, like "desire" or "education," you don't make it plural.
mammonish (the adjective,) mammonism (the idea,) mammonist (the person)
How to use it:
Like how Mother Nature is the personification of nature, and like how Santa Claus is the personification of the spirit of giving, mammon is the personification of evil greed and of the evil influence of wealth. "Mammon" comes from a Latin word for "wealth," and it shows up in the Bible a few times, most notably in a warning that we can't serve both God and mammon.
So, you talk about worshiping mammon, serving mammon, bowing to mammon, making sacrifices to mammon, satisfying mammon, ignoring or forsaking or despising mammon, the wages of mammon, and so on.
Although you can capitalize this word ("Mammon,") making it a clearer personification of wealth and evil, most folks these days use a lowercase letter.
Sacrificing time with the family so you can provide for their needs is one thing, but it's not the same as all-out worshiping mammon.
The Great Gatsby's most critical readers see the novel as one long invitation to serve mammon.
study it now:
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "mammon" means when you can explain it without saying "material wealth" or "money's evil influence."
try it out:
Think of an activity or job that definitely will never make you rich, and fill in the blank: "If you want to _____, you have to start by rejecting mammon."
Example: "If you want to be a public school teacher in this country, you have to start by rejecting mammon."
before you review:
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
When it comes to word roots, everybody knows what some of them mean, like “ambi/amphi” (“both”) and “circum” (“around”) and “hetero” (“different”). This knowledge helps you explain why words like “automobile” and “autobiography” look similar—in this case, it’s because they both involve the concept of “self.” But what about some of the less obvious roots? Could you explain, for example, why “contain” looks so much like “sustain” by defining “tain”? This month, we're exploring the meanings underlying common words you know. You can usually figure these out by looking for an extremely basic concept common to all the words in each group. We’ll start with easier, more obvious roots and move on to trickier ones as the month goes on!
Yesterday's question: In amnesty, amnesia, and mnemonic, what does “mne” mean?
Try this one today: In advertise, avert, convert, divert, extrovert, introvert, invert, revert, subvert, and vertigo, what does “vert” mean?
A Point Well Made:
Just to let you readers know, I usually put a well-worded quote right here, often from a famous speaker or author. But I've decided to nix this section from now on, to make the issues more concise and focused.
review today's word:
1. The best opposite of MAMMON is
A. ALMIGHTY DOLLAR
B. HUMAN RIGHTS
C. SELFLESS GIVING
2. We admit we're rarely _____ mammon.
A. in accordance with B. faithful to
C. typical of
Answers are below.
a final word:
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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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