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Bust of Heliogabalus

Alternative forms[edit]


From a Latinized form of the Semitic deity El-Gabal, a manifestation of the Semitic deity Ēl. The prefix Helio- in this case comes from phono-semantic matching with Biblical Hebrew אֵל (ʾēl).


Proper noun[edit]


  1. A Roman emperor of the Severan dynasty who reigned from 218 to 222. He was known for perverse and decadent behavior with regard especially to sex, religion, and food.
    • 1689John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, ch xxvii
      But yet I think nobody, could he be sure that the soul of Heliogabalus were in one of his hogs, would yet say that hog were a man or Heliogabalus.
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], chapter VIII, in Gulliver’s Travels, volume II, London: Printed for Benj[amin] Motte, OCLC 995220039, part III:
      I spent five days in conversing with many others of the ancient learned. I saw most of the first Roman emperors. I prevailed on the governor to call up Heliogabalus's cooks to dress us a dinner, but they could not show us much of their skill, for want of materials.
    • 1749Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book I ch i
      How pleased, therefore, will the reader be to find that we have, in the following work, adhered closely to one of the highest principles of the best cook which the present age, or perhaps that of Heliogabalus, hath produced. This great man, as is well known to all lovers of polite eating, begins at first by setting plain things before his hungry guests, rising afterwards by degrees as their stomachs may be supposed to decrease, to the very quintessence of sauce and spices.
    • 1880William S. Gilbert, The Pirates of Penzance, Act i
      I quote in elegaics all the crimes of Heliogabalus,