hi·er·o·phant (hīər-ə-fănt′, hīrə-, hī-ĕrə-fənt)
1. An ancient Greek priest who interpreted sacred mysteries, especially the priest of the Eleusinian mysteries.
2. An interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge.
3. One who explains or makes a commentary.
[Late Latin hierophanta, from Greek hierophantēs : hieros, holy; see eis- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + -phantēs, one who shows (from phainein, phan-, to show; see bhā-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.