September 04, 2012
atlas (noun)
\AT-lus\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a book of maps
How do you use it?
To give us an idea of the distance and direction we had to travel, Mom showed us in the atlas how we would get to the town where Grandma and Grandpa live.
Are you a word wiz?

With an atlas you can find your way from place to place. One of the answers explains how "atlas" found its way into English. Which one do you think it is?

In ancient Greek mythology, Atlas was one of the giants called the Titans. The Titans lost a mighty battle against Zeus and the other gods. After the defeat, Atlas was punished by being forced to support the heavens on his shoulders. In the 16th century, it became a custom for mapmakers to include a picture of Atlas supporting the globe on the title pages of books of maps. The renowned 16th century Flemish mapmaker Gerardus Mercator gave his books the title "Atlas." The word "atlas" eventually came to be used for such books of maps in most languages of Europe, including English.
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