Word of the Day – Manichean

* Manichaean or manichean (MA nuh kee uhn)

If you belonged to the reading class, a dwindling cadre in the age of 3 Idiots, Paa and Vettaikaran, you’d have encountered the word manichaean in a newspaper or magazine article by now.

Etymology – To trace the origins of this word, you’d have to go back to the Persian prophet Manes (Latin) or Mani (English), who lived in the second century AD.

Meaning – Manes and his acolytes argued for a dualistic view of religion that perceives a struggle in the world between the forces of good and evil.


These days, the word manichean is often used to deride George W.Bush’s simplistic view of the world as a struggle between good and evil with no room for shades of gray.

If you want an Indian connection to manichean, our Persian friend Mani is believed to have visited India and lived there for a while.

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