I had a couple of requests for etymologies at work last month, so I'm going to do one today and one tomorrow. Today is troglodyte, which the American Heritage Dictionary defines as:
- 1a. A member of a fabulous or prehistoric race of people that lived in caves, dens, or holes.
- 1b. A person considered to be reclusive, reactionary, out of date, or brutish.
- 2a. An anthropoid ape, such as a gorilla or chimpanzee.
- 2b. An animal that lives underground, as an ant or a worm.
Troglodyte came up at work in the sense of 1b.
Here's the AHD etymology: "From the Latin Trōglodytae, a people said to be cave dwellers, from the Greek Trōglodutai, alteration (influenced by trōglē, meaning hole , and -dutai, meaning those who enter) of Trōgodutai."
Webster's New World gives a similar etymology, though some of the Latin and Greek words are slightly different: "From the Latin troglodyta, from the Greek trōglodytēs, meaning one who creeps into holes, cave dweller, from trōglē, meaning a hole, cave ... and -dyein, meaning to creep in, enter."
I like that phrasing, "one who creeps into holes."