Definition of argus in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈärɡəs/


1 (Argus) Greek Mythology A monster with a hundred eyes, used by Hera to watch over Io. He was killed by Hermes, and Hera then used his eyes to deck the peacock’s tail.
Example sentences
  • Hera appointed her servant Argus to guard the cow, and Hermes, at Zeus' command, killed Argus.
  • In Prometheus Bound, Argus is the child of Gaia, but Ovid is silent on the issue of Argus's lineage.
  • Ovid describes Argus with one hundred eyes in his head, but an Attic vase (c. 490 BCE) depicts Argus with eyes all over his body.
2 (also argus pheasant) A long-tailed pheasant with generally brown plumage, found in Southeast Asia and Indonesia.
  • Two species in the family Phasianidae: the male great argus (Argusianus argus) has lengthened secondary wing feathers bearing eyespots, spread during display; the crested argus (Rheinartia ocellata) has the longest tail feathers of any bird.
Example sentences
  • Male argus pheasants impress with an involved dance, spreading their wings to form a saucer for a finale.
  • There are also gibbons, leaf monkeys, jungle cats, forest deer, otter, hornbills and argus pheasants.
  • Though the argus pheasant is not as colorful as its relatives the peacock and the palawock pheasant, it is still an interesting looking bird.
3A small brown or bluish Eurasian butterfly that typically has eyelike markings near the wing margins.
  • Aricia and other genera, family Lycaenidae.
Example sentences
  • The areas often support many rare or uncommon species such as northern brown argus butterflies and wood bitter vetch.
  • Several species of the Argus Butterfly exist but the Eden Argus exists nowhere else than in Castle Eden Dene.
  • The caterpillar of the Argus Butterfly feeds almost exclusively on the leaves of the rock rose.
4 (also argus fish) A silvery deep-bodied fish with round spots, widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific region in both fresh and salt water.
  • Scatophagus argus, family Scatophagidae.
Example sentences
  • Bruce holds the Nikonos at arm's length to snap his own picture while feeding an argus fish.
  • Scatophagus argus (Argus Fish, Spotted Scat) are sensitive to nitrites.
  • The best-known species, the scat, or argus fish is a popular freshwater aquarium fish when small.


Late Middle English: from Latin, from Greek Argos, the name of the mythical watchman with a hundred eyes.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ar·gus

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