Department of Design

January 6th, 2010



[Gr. Τίµων, personal name.]

The name of a noted misanthrope of Athens, the hero of Shakespeare’s play of the same name; hence, one like Timon, a misanthrope.

   1588 Shakes. L.L.L. iv. iii. 170 And Critticke Tymon laugh at idle toyes.    1711 Shaftesbury Charac. (1737) II. 197 You discover’d so much aversion, as wou’d make one believe you a compleat Timon, or man-hater.    1819 Lady Morgan Autobiog. (1859) 281 She had grown into a sort of female Timon—not of Athens—bitter, and always going over old, past scenes.    1886 Pall Mall G. 15 June 6/1 Both Mr. Ruskin and Mr. Froude have long been known as highly cultivated disciples of the latter-day Timon of Cheyne-row.

Hence Tiˈmonian a., of, pertaining to, or like Timon; ˈTimonism, misanthropy; ˈTimonist, a misanthrope; ˈTimonize v. intr., to play the Timon or misanthrope.

   1770 Langhorne Plutarch (1851) II. 997/1 He left his *Timonian retreat.

   1886 Pall Mall G. 15 June 6/1 No new Timon arose, for *Timonism had been found out to be a fraud.

   1590 Greene Mourn. Garm. (1616) 2 Yet was he not‥such a *Timonist, but hee would familiarly conuerse with his friends.    1602 Dekker Satirom. L iij, I did it to retyre me from the world; And turne my Muse into a Timonist.

   1713 Gentl. Instr. ii. viii. (ed. 5) 180, I should be tempted to *Timonize, and clap a Satyr upon our whole Species.

The definition of “timon,” from the Oxford English Dictionary.