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Origin & Meaning of Dragon

The word "dragon" has a variety of literal and symbolic mean-ings which are drawn from different cultures and periods of time. Dragons have such a widespread presence in literature and myth-ology that nearly everyone has an immediate personal concept of the term, but many would never imagine some of the historical variations of the term. Based on personal interpretations of the most common literal meanings, my personal definition of the word "dragon" is that it means: a mythical monster or beast, usually reptilian; a large serpent, lizard, or snake; sin or satan, or a representative of evil power.

In the Western world, "dragon" can be traced back to its ancient Greek origin. It comes from the Greek word drakon, which means "serpent." It was used literally to mean a snake or lizard and also used symbolically to represent evil or sin. A snake has often been used as the symbol of the devil or sin. The snake in the Garden of Eden was a symbol for the devil, and the story of St. George slaying the dragon represented symbolically the triumph of good over evil.

The Latin word draco was taken from the Greek root drakon. Again it was used in biblical times to mean literally a snake, or symbolically to mean a mythical monster. "Dragon" as we know it today comes from the Old French variation of the Latin term. So

1William and Mary Moren, Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, Volume III (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1971) p. 90.

the primary origin of "dragon" was the Greek root drakon, which evolved into the Latin draco, which became dragon in French. The English useage was taken directly from the French.

The Greek and Latin uses of the word were fairly consistent in portraying a reptile as an image of evil. But the Greek root originally came from an ancient Greek word meaning "to see." There are several Old Testament references to dragons being mentioned along wi


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