Thursday, 5 May 2011


If you are medioxumate it means that you are a god, but only a middling sort of god. You aren't a top god like Allah or Jehovah, but you aren't a godling either. It's a rather useful sort of word for bringing in a qualification when discussing divinity. If you hear somebody described as a sex god, you can agree, but add that they are only a medioxumate one. This won't cause offence: partly because being a medioxumate sex god is better than not being a sex god at all, and partly because nobody in their right mind knows what medioxumate means.

The Toothache God of Kathmandu is a proper example of a medioxumate god. He's the chap in the picture and is only usually worshipped when a dentist is unavailable, because as Shakespeare put it: There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently.


  1. I am most attracted to the idea of medioxumate gods, middling domestic deities whocan be usefully invoked for finding lostkeys or jewellery, cursing rivals, favourably inclining the beloved to passion, celebrating rituals of passage, and pouring comfortable libations to kindly gods who lack totalitarian ambition. But I am constitutionally unable to use a new word of which I cannot understand the derivation. Medio is obvious, but what is oxumate? Are there megaloxumate and microxumate gods?
    Liddell and Scott and Partridge on Origins are unhelpful.

    Peter Stevenson

  2. Well the noun is a medioxumus in Latin, and the OED's best guess is that it's a blend of mediocris and proximus, or middle and near.

  3. When Katmanduvians have a toothache they nail a coin to an effigy of the toothache God. I actually have a photograph depicting decades of dental suffering in that fine city. I shall show it to you sometime.

    Peter you know who.

  4. Terry Pratchett's work is full of medioxumate gods, like the Oh God of Hangovers, and Anoia, the Goddess of Things that get stuck in drawers. I'm sure there are more!