What exactly does Neptunian mean?
Saturdays are perfect days for planetary surprises. Surprise—we’re talking about Neptune today!
Did you hear about the latest discovery about the outermost planet in our solar system? Apparently, Neptune is not the deep azure color scientists though it was, but rather more of a pale teal. At least the planet is still some shade of blue, which befits its association with a god of water.
Historically, the deity Neptune was revered as a Roman god of fresh water until becoming conflated with the Greek Poseidon and adding all of the sea and a fancy trident to his celestial portfolio. Thanks to this marine association, the word Neptunian carries multiple connotation:
of or pertaining to Neptune or the sea
of or pertaining to the planet Neptune
formed by the action of water
As far as vocabulary goes, Neptune derives from the same root NEB- (cloud) from which the names of certain cloud types and other related words are formed:
nebula (noun) - an interstellar cloud of gas and dust; a cloudy formation appearing in a medical test
—nebular means of, pertaining to, or resembling a nebula
nebulous (adj) - uncertain, ambiguous, or vague; difficult to understand or describe; nebular
nimbus (noun) - a luminous cloud or vapor, usually surrounding an object or body; a radiant aura; a dark cloud
“Bacchus has drowned more men than Neptune.” —Giuseppe Garibaldi