Or·phe·us (ôrfē-əs, -fys′)
A Thracian poet and musician whose music had the power to move even inanimate objects and who almost succeeded in rescuing his wife Eurydice from Hades.
[Latin Orpheus, from Greek; see orbh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Or·phean (ôr-fēən, ôrfē-ən) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.