1: capitalized : a member of a legendary Thessalian people who accompanied their king Achilles in the Trojan War
2: a loyal follower; especially : a subordinate who executes orders unquestioningly or unscrupulously
Did You Know?
The Myrmidons, legendary inhabitants of Thessaly in Greece, were known for their fierce devotion to their king, Achilles, who led them in the Trojan War. Myrmex means "ant" in Greek, an image that evokes small and insignificant workers mindlessly fulfilling their duty.
Whether the original Myrmidons were given their name for that reason is open to question. The "ant" association is strong, however. Some say the name is from a legendary ancestor who once had the form of an ant; others say the Myrmidons were actually transformed from ants. In any case, since the 1400s, we've employed "myrmidon" in its not-always-complimentary, ant-evoking, figurative sense.
Middle English Mirmydon, Latin Myrmidon-, Myrmido, from Greek Myrmidōn
First Known Use: 15th century
(Source: Merriam-Webster Online)