Does anyone know what a 'laminoe' is, as used by Gene Wolfe in Peace?

"And as if by magic - and it may have been magic, for I believe America is the land of magic, and that we, we now past Americans, were once the magical people of it, waiting now to stand to some unguessable generation of the future as the nameless pre-Mycenaean tribes did to the Greeks, ready, at a word, each of us now, to flit piping through groves ungrown, our women ready to haunt as laminoe the rose-red ruins of Chicago and Indianapolis when they are little more than earthen mounds, when the heads of the trees are higher than the hundred-and-twenty-fifth floor - it seemed to me that I found myself in bed again, the old house swaying in silence as though it were moored to the universe by only the thread of smoke from the stove."

It sounds like some kind of ghost, but just curious where he might have got this word from and its exact meaning, if it has one.

  • 5
    Googling the passage, what's been quoted is a typo. Annoyingly, I can't find a definitive copy of the actual text. Some quotes of it use lamias while other use lamiae. But laminoes is definitely wrong. Aug 8, 2020 at 3:58

1 Answer 1


It is a typo or an OCR error for lamiae, the Latin plural of lamia. My hardcopy (the 2012 edition from Orb) has lamiae.

From Wiktionary:

lamia f (genitive lamiae); first declension

  1. witch who was said to suck children's blood (sort of female bogeyman)
  2. a sorceress, enchantress, witch.

Lamia was originally a Greek word, but there is no Greek plural, since there was only one Lamia in Greek myth (and the Greek plural wouldn't have been laminoe, either).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.