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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Augean \Au*ge"an\, a.

  1. (Class. Myth.) Of or pertaining to Augeus, king of Elis, whose stable contained 3000 oxen, and had not been cleaned for 30 years. Hercules cleansed it in a single day.

  2. Hence: Exceedingly filthy or corrupt.

    Augean stable (Fig.), an accumulation of corruption or filth almost beyond the power of man to remedy.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"filthy," 1590s, in reference to Augean stable, the cleansing of which was one of the labors of Herakles, from Greek Augeias, like the stable of Augeas, king of Elis, which contained 3,000 oxen and had gone uncleansed for 30 years. Herakles purified it in one day by turning the river Alpheus through it.


a. 1 Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Augeas. 2 ''Hence,'' very filthy.

Usage examples of "augean".

Iolaus here helped him to burn off the heads of the Lernaean Hydra, And he used the rivers Alpheus and Peneius to clean out the Augean Stables.

Yet we are informed by him that in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Yokohama, the Augean stables of American vice are located.

Who has not watched at the commencement of a Ministry some Secretary, some Lord, or some Commissioner, who intends by fresh Herculean labours to cleanse the Augean stables just committed to his care?

It is the Augean stables through which some American Hercules must turn a purifying river before the American people can justly boast either of their capital or of their government.

I firmly believe, devise a plan to cleanse the great Augean stable of politics by turning into it the river of female honesty and intelligence and morality.

Blaine himself, had the usual politician's long memory, and Theodore was forced to content himself with Civil Service reform, an Augean stable where not even Hercules would have dreamed of putting hand to shovel.

It picked Krona up and delivered him neatly into a steaming heap of Augean stable sweepings.

So far, that Hercules has failed to clean up his psychic Augean stable.

The boiler and the power house squads were taken on, and reported gloomily about their Augean stable.

Like so many of New York's young grandees, Jack Astor had been inspired to clean up the Augean stables if not of the republic, an impossible undertaking, of the city.

Hercules, cleaning the Augean stables, had an easy task in comparison.

Controlling the raw sewage produced by such a population was enough to make Hercules' legendary cleaning of the Augean Stables look like an afternoon's easy chore.

His thoughts kept returning to the fact that Lorenzo had often spoken of Hercules, suggesting that the Greek legend did not mean that his twelve labors were to be taken literally: the capture of the Erymanthian boar, the defeating of the Nemean lion, the cleaning of the Augean stables by running a river through.

All the proper things were there, but organizing them made Hercules' task in the Augean stables seem trivial in comparison.

Fighting a losing battle and working off your penance cleaning Aiken's Augean stables seem to have agreed with you.