1 (Greek mythology) the rarified fluid said to flow in the veins of the Gods
Etymologymid 17th century, from Classical Greek: ιχώρ
- 1720: This said, she wiped from Venus’ wounded palm / The sacred ichor, and infused the balm. — Alexander Pope, The Iliad
- 1936: Wrap him for shroud in a petal. / Embalm him with ichor of nettle. — Robert Frost, 'Departmental', 1936
- 1989: They will not live / As shades but angle forward to enjoy / The pluck of life, the pressure of their ichor. — Peter Porter, 'They Come Back More', from Possible Worlds, 1989
In Greek mythology, ichor (Greek ) is the mineral that is the Greek gods' blood, sometimes said to have been present in ambrosia or nectar. When a god was injured and bled, the ichor made his or her blood poisonous to mortals.
Ichor has also been used to mean the blood in a vampire's veins. Whereas many vampire stories and movies describe them as having reddish or dark red blood, others describe vampire blood as being different from human blood altogether—an ichor that is traditionally dark green in color.
H. P. Lovecraft often used ichor in his descriptions of other-worldly creatures, most prominently in his nightmarish detail of the chimeric remains of Wilbur Whateley, in "The Dunwich Horror".
The term ichor is often misused in fantasy contexts by authors trying to find a different word for "blood" or "ooze", to the point that it has become cliché. Author Ursula LeGuin, in "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie", calls the term "the infallible touchstone of the seventh-rate."
Ichor has also been used in science fiction as an alien substitute for blood, as in Garth Nix's book Shade's Children. Additionally, in the Dragonriders of Pern novel series, Anne McCaffrey refers to the blood of the alien (but genetically enhanced by humans) Pernese dragons as ichor.
ichor in German: Ichor
ichor in Modern Greek (1453-): Ιχώρ
ichor in Spanish: Icor
ichor in French: Ichor
ichor in Italian: Icore
ichor in Polish: Ichor
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