Trivia

Hard

Which Gemstone Was Believed To Protect The Wearer From Drunkenness?

Diamond
Ruby
Amethyst
Emerald
A close-up photo of a beautiful amethyst gemstone.
Axel Naud/Flickr

Answer: Amethyst

If you’re familiar with Ancient Greek, then the answer to this trivia question was a walk in the park—since the English word used to describe the common violet variety of quartz, “amethyst,” is derived from the Ancient Greek word “amethustos.” The word evolved with the Greek language and became “amethystos,” then it jumped from Greek to English as “amethyst.”

While the word in reference to the stone made the jump from Greek to English intact just fine, what didn’t come along for the ride was the meaning of the word itself. In Ancient Greek, the prefix and suffix of a- and methustos translates as “not” and “intoxicated,” then when the word transitioned to more modern Greek and became “amethystos,” it retained the meaning of “not drunken.”

This meaning may seem quite odd to a modern reader, but ancient Greeks believed that amethyst was a very strong antidote against drunkenness. They would wear jewelry decorated with the stone and drink from goblets carved out of large crystals in a bid to protect themselves from intoxication. Why amethyst and why protection from drunkenness? There are several myths and legends that all have variations on the theme of amethyst gaining its color from the wine of the gods (in one story, Bacchus himself pours wine over a white stone and in another Dionysus weeps tears of wine upon a pure crystalline quartz statue), both leading to the creation of amethyst. The stone, therefore, had an association with the power and protection of the gods.

Trivia

Hard

What Camouflage Technique Did Fighter Jet Designers Adopt From Nature?

Trivia

Hard

Kingsnakes Derive Their Name From Their?

Trivia

Very Hard

What Did The Inventor Of The Pet Rock Later Try To Sell Americans Bit By Bit?

Trivia

Hard

The Code Name For Microsoft Encarta Was?

Trivia

Easy

For Their April Fool’s Day Prank In 1965, The BBC Claimed They Could Wirelessly Transmit What?

Trivia

Hard

The Roche Limit Is A Mathematical Formula That Explains?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Compound Classes Is So Foul That Smelling It Hinders Research Into Them?

Trivia

Hard

Opera Once Released An Edition Of Their Browser That Made MSN.com Appear Written By?

Trivia

Easy

Modern Subway Maps Were Inspired By?

Trivia

Hard

Leafcutter Ants Don’t Eat Leaves, But Use The Leaves To?