Pronounced Pron. ə-KAN-this
Other Forms FormsAcanthyllis
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Contributor Contrib.LMS on 5/16/2014
Latinized form of Greek Ἀκανθίς (Akanthis), which was the name of a type of finch, known as thistle finch in English, literally meaning "prickly" from Greek ἄκανθα (akantha) "thorn, prickle, thistle" (compare Acantha, Acanthus). In Greek mythology this was the name of a sister of Anthus; after her brother was eaten by a horse, she and her family members were all transformed by Zeus into birds, with Acanthis becoming the thistle finch. This was also used by the 1st-century BC Roman poet Propertius for an old witch in one his poems.