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Sense 1 (“liquid said to flow in place of blood in the veins of the gods”) is borrowed from Medieval Latin ichor, from Ancient Greek ῑ̓χώρ (īkhṓr, fluid running through the veins of gods, ichor; watery part of blood, lymph, serum; watery part of milk, whey; gravy; pus; naphtha);[1] further etymology unknown, probably from Pre-Greek.

Sense 2.4 (“fetid, watery discharge from a sore”) is from Middle English icor, icore [and other forms],[2] from Medieval Latin ichor; see further above.



ichor (countable and uncountable, plural ichors)

  1. (Greek mythology) The liquid said to flow in place of blood in the veins of the gods. [from late 17th c.]
    • 1716, Homer, [Alexander] Pope, transl., “Book V”, in The Iliad of Homer, volume II, London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott [], →OCLC, page 40, lines 505–506:
      This ſaid, ſhe wip’d from Venus’ wounded Palm / The ſacred Ichor, and infus’d the Balm.
    • 1791, Homer, W[illiam] Cowper, transl., “[The Iliad.] Book V.”, in The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, Translated into Blank Verse, [], volume I, London: [] J[oseph] Johnson, [], →OCLC, page 121, lines 387–393:
      With his protruded ſpear her gentle hand / He wounded, piercing through her thin attire / Ambroſial, by themſelves the Graces wrought, / Her inſide wriſt, faſt by her roſy palm. / Blood follow'd, but immortal; ichor pure, / Such as the bleſt inhabitants of heav'n / May bleed, nectareous; []
    • 1822 October 15, Quevedo Redivivus [pseudonym; Lord Byron], “The Vision of Judgment”, in The Liberal. Verse and Prose from the South, 2nd edition, volume I, number I, London: [] John Hunt, [], published 1823, →OCLC, stanza XXV, page 11:
      He [Saint Peter] potter'd with his keys at a great rate, / And sweated through his apostolic skin: / Of course his perspiration was but ichor, / Or some such other spiritual liquor.
  2. (by extension)
    1. (chiefly poetic) The blood of human beings or animals; also (obsolete) the clear, fluid portion of blood; blood plasma, plasma.
      • 1857, Anthony Trollope, “The Thornes of Ullathorne”, in Barchester Towers. [], copyright edition, volume I, Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, published 1859, →OCLC, page 266:
        He had merely meant to express his feeling that the streams which ran through their veins were not yet purified by time to that perfection, had not become so genuine an ichor, as to be worthy of being called blood in the genealogical sense.
    2. (chiefly poetic, figuratively) A blood-like fluid.
      • 1638, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Of the Matter of Melancholy”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy. [], 5th edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed [by Robert Young, Miles Flesher, and Leonard Lichfield and William Turner] for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition 1, section 1, member 3, subsection [3], page 34:
        [I]chores and thoſe ſerious matters being thickned become flegme, and flegme degenerates into choler, choler aduſt becomes æruginoſa melancholia, as vinegar out of the pureſt wine putrified or by exhalation of purer ſpirits is ſo made, and becomes ſowre and ſharp; []
      • 1936, Robert Frost, “Departmental”, in The Poems of Robert Frost: [], New York, N.Y.: The Modern Library, published 1946, →OCLC, page 331:
        Go bring him [an ant] home to his people. / Lay him in state on a sepal. / Wrap him for shroud in a petal. / Embalm him with ichor of nettle.
      • 1988, Peter Porter, “They Come Back More”, in Quadrant, volume 32, Sydney, N.S.W.: Quadrant Magazine, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 29, column 2:
        They will not live / As shades but angle forward to enjoy / The pluck of life, the pressure of their ichor.
      • 2002 August 13, “You Were But a Ghost in My Arms”, in John Haughm (lyrics), John Haughm, Don Anderson, and Jason William Walton (music), The Mantle, performed by Agalloch:
        Like snow fall you cry a silent storm. / Your tears paint rivers on this oaken wall / Amber nectar / misery ichor.
    3. (geology, archaic) A fluid believed to seep out from magma and cause rock to turn into granite.
    4. (pathology, obsolete) A fetid, watery discharge from a sore; pus.
      Synonym: sanies

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ ichor, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2020; ichor, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ icor(e, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.

Further reading[edit]



Polish Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia pl


Learned borrowing from Medieval Latin ichor.


  • IPA(key): /ˈi.xɔr/
  • Rhymes: -ixɔr
  • Syllabification: i‧chor


ichor m inan

  1. (Greek mythology) ichor (liquid said to flow in place of blood in the veins of the gods)


Further reading[edit]

  • ichor in Polish dictionaries at PWN