General English


Origin & History of “python”

The original Python was a fabulous serpent said to have been hatched from the mud of Deucalion’s flood (Deucalion was the Greek counterpart of Noah) and slain by Apollo near Delphi in ancient Greece. Its name, in Greek Pūthōn, may be related to Pūthṓ, an old name for Delphi; and that in turn, it has been speculated, may derive from pū́thein ‘rot’, as the serpent supposedly rotted there after its demise. female soothsayers served at the Delphi oracle, and English adopted pythoness (14th c.) as a general term for such ancient priestesses; and the four-yearly athletic contests held at Delphi in honour of Apollo were known as the Pythian Games (they were second in importance only to the Olympic Games). The scientific application of the name python to a genus of large Old world constricting snakes (now its most familiar role) dates from the 1830s. then, in the late 1960s, a chance decision brought python a more left-field career move: after considering and rejecting several alternatives, a group of young comic writer-performers called their new surreally humorous BBC television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969–1974), and by the mid-1970s Pythonesque was being used generically to suggest surreality or absurdity.