Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word on Monday: Mythistory

(Apologies, I've been dealing with a sore arm which has made typing.... unpleasant)

mythistory [mith-ist-e-ry]
History mixed with myth; a mythologized version of history


The first half of the twentieth century witnessed a general secularisation of the political discourse in most parts of the world. There were, nevertheless, notable exceptions. In the forties states were founded, based on self-validating 'mythistory', overtly on religious foundations and for specific faiths. (Sacred & secular in international relations, The Tribune India, Apr 15)

At this point McNeill coins the term 'mythistory', which he defines as an attempt to attain a better balance between 'Truth, truths, and myths'. (Leslie ChapmanHistory becomes myth, Touching The Real, May 19)

This artificial construct provides the narrative basis for the 'lessons of the past' which interpreters build into their formulations about the historical past (ie, the mythistory that explains why the interpreter's people are different from and better than other people) (Donald Ostrowski, Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-Cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier)


Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Nathan Bailey (d. 1742), lexicographer and schoolmaster. From post-classical Latin mythistoria 'fabulous history' from classical Latin mȳthos or mȳthus + historia. (Oxford English Dictionary)

Tags: english: georgian, invented, latin, m, noun, wordsmith: sallymn

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