One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in ancient times) a slave living in a temple and dedicated to the service of a god.
bondsman, bondswoman, bondservant, bondslave, serf, vassal, thrallView synonyms
- ‘As the embodiment of Goddess the hierodule conjoined in the sacred marriage with the king or priest, and this ritual became intertwined with the fecundity of nature.’
- ‘Bring here a hierodule from the temple that her arts may overpower this man.’
- ‘Arsay has displeased me and that I have found someone else whom I wish to be the hierodule.’
- ‘An ivory Aphrodite is celebrated by her hierodules in myrtle bowers.’
- ‘Men seeking spiritual wholeness came to the Temple to visit priestesses—or hierodules—with whom they experienced the divine through physical union.’
Mid 19th century: from late Latin hierodulus, from Greek hierodoulos, from hieron ‘temple’ + doulos ‘slave’.
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