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Increasing Your Vocabulary: Janiform

Janiform is a word that has a simple, easy to grasp meaning, yet it is interesting because it is a direct reference to mythology and that is where the word originated. Specifically, the word comes from Roman myth and from the name of the Roman god Janus.

Janus was the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, gates, doorways, passageways, time, duality, and endings. Janus was usually depicted as having two faces that looked in opposite directions, as the image above shows. (The statue resides at the Vatican.)

Because of how Janus was shown, Janiform means “two-faced or hypocritical”. The word is used as an adjective.

A possible usage of the term would be, “She was even more janiform than the typical politician.”

See if you can use the word Janiform today and for the rest of the week. That is the best way to remember the meaning of the word.


What do you think?

Written by Rex Trulove


    • You have a point. Then again, the Vatican has a lot of artwork and only a portion of it is Christian. I’m a Christian, but I’m evangelical, not Catholic.

      • I wouldn’t think “false idols” in any form would be allowed on or in a Christian structure of any sort. Although I’ve heard a lot about the Vatican having many… Seems more than a little janiform to me! I was christened Methodist as an infant and baptized in the Apostolic church when I was 13. However, neither of those labels fit me today and have not for the last 30 years… There was far too much janiform going on for me. I have this thing where I expect people to be practicing what they’re preaching rather than pointing out everyone else’s flaws. Much of my family is clergy. We’ve had go ’round after go ’round, but my beliefs are solid, too 😉 I don’t at all knock what anyone believes <3 I just wish more folks would actually follow what they believe instead of simply using it as a crutch or a cover-up for who they really are :/

        • As far as the Vatican, my take is that the artworks they have that are non-Christian have no idolic purpose. Rather, they are merely works of art and history and have no other real value.

          You are quite right. Far too many churches not only don’t practice what they preach, they also disregard some scriptures and follow others. No scripture is more important than any other.

          I go to an Assembly of God church and I’m the groundskeeper there. While not everyone in the congregation follows the teachings (some are lukewarm, only on Sunday Christians), the ministerial staff goes out of their way to do so. They’d be the first to admit that sometimes they fall short. Still, this church runs the food bank in town, they have a clothing bank, a wood ministry (firewood for needy families), a community soup-kitchen, and other ministries. It is all volunteer and the money to run it comes from tithes and offerings. The reason we do this is because of scripture. We take to heart what Jesus said about helping the needy.

          We are also very active at having classes for people in the congregation, though it isn’t at all mandatory. A large part of the purpose is to teach people *not* to be janiform. There is also a strong reminder, often repeated in sermons, that nobody in the congregation should automatically accept what one of the pastors say. Rather, they should search scripture on their own, as the bible also says we should do, and more than that, we should study the bible and not just read it.

          • Right on! <3 I would go to that church and enjoy helping! Here, there is nothing like that… What I see is local "Christians" on Facebook talking about how God should be put back in schools while at the same time belittling women on their walls, calling the poor every name you can think of, and calling people all kinds of colorful words if they don't side with Trump and his agenda… It has sincerely gotten ugly 🙁

        • It is also a prophecy of the bible. I love a saying someone once said about people who call themselves Christian because they regularly attend church, though.

          “Saying that you are a Christian because you go to church is like calling yourself a car because you are standing in the garage.”