One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person believed to be possessed by the devil or a spirit.
- ‘The energumens, who were exorcized daily, were prevented by the daily exorcisms and sweeping duties from pursuing their usual callings.’
- ‘Apparently an energumen, she had exhibited symptoms of diabolical possession for a dozen years: she could not pray, take communion or even pronounce the name of Christ.’
- ‘The sprightly energumen lives and breathes his words on the stage for 53 minutes.’
Early 18th century (also denoting an enthusiast or fanatic): via late Latin from Greek energoumenos, passive participle of energein ‘work in or upon’.
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