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It was derived from the name of a Greek maiden who beat Athena in a weaving contest; what taxonomic term is it?

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Answer: arachnid

The word arachnid - which derives from the Greek arachne, spider - denotes arthropods of the class Arachnida, such as spiders, scorpions, and ticks. They have segmented bodies.

In mythology Arachne was a Greek maiden who was turned into a spider after defeating Athena in a weaving contest. Note: a more precise answer would be "Arachnida" because the is the taxonomic classification.


In the spirit of the game I have a nit to pick with your brief account of Arachne's story. Arachne boasted that she was more skilfull than Athena. She lost the contest, acknowledging the Goddess's vastly more beautiful tapestry. Athena changed her into a spider to punish her for her hubris.(Oooooo! Look! More Greek!)
John Askin Waterloo, Ontario)

[Note: The first version of the question asked: "What entomological term is it?" That provoked this response]

"I am a long time admirer of your game, but I think you made a mistake this time. Pondering today's question I thought of "arachnid" at first but then dismissed it because EVERYONE KNOWS SPIDERS AREN'T INSECTS.

So I began a fruitless effort to connect actual entomological terms like lepidoptera, hymenoptera (Greek god, but wrong one), coleoptera, and decided it must be some word I don't know having to do with silkworms.

Finally I had to give up and look at the answer. Maybe, I thought, entomology includes the study of spiders so I looked it up in my American Heritage, and it said no, just insects. I should have known from the etymology of entomology: en+tom in Greek = in+sect in Latin."
Charles H. Bennett

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