1. Calm and peaceful; tranquil.
2. Prosperous; golden: halcyon years.
1. A fabled bird, identified with the kingfisher, that was supposed to have had the power to calm the wind and the waves while it nested on the sea during the winter solstice.
2. A kingfisher, especially one of the genus Halcyon.
[Middle English alcioun, mythical halcyon bird, from Latin alcyōn, halcyōn, from Greek halkuōn, alteration (influenced by hals, salt, sea, and kuōn, conceiving) of alkuōn, probably from a pre-Greek Mediterranean language .]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.